Nathaniel Horn

Today was the first time I looked deeper into this thing called instapoetry. While I have heard of the term before I never actually looked into it. Everyone has heard of name Rupi Kaur but not everyone knows where she came from or how she broke into the scene of poetry. Rupi used Instagram as the launching platform for her career where she took the world of poetry by storm, she also isn’t the only one who used one of the leading social media platforms to kickstart her career. 12 of the top 20 best-selling poets in 2018 were “insta-poets”. It’s interesting how these poets used the affordances and media-inherent limitations of instagram to their advantage in their poetry. Instagram first and foremost is a visually based medium, which might make it seem unlogical to use as a platform for poetry. The text has to be visible and legible in the image, which means it can’t be too long. Because of the nature of the platform and social media people also tend to mainly focus on quickly digestible content, which also adds to the challenge of using Instagram as a platform for poetry. The poets however used the limitations in a creative way, elevating their poets. This is done by adding drawings or having a playful eyecatching format. Instapoets often play with typography and the shapes of their text to make the post more appealing further capitalizing on the properties of Instagram.

The instapoets that are dominating the poetry world as of late are not content by keeping it to Instagram. They expand their craft to different mediums like books or even sell merch. In the process of creating merch they transfer their poems to different objects, also referred to as transmediality, which implies the transfer of a story/text/motif from one medium to another.

Instapoetry can be seen as a intermediary form of expression. It’s a novel approach to poetry and has not been accepted by the larger poetry community at large, there is a lot of pushback against it from more traditionally schooled poets. The “rules” for this form of poetry are not yet determined and there aren’t any set paradigms yet for instapoetry. There are poets who enhance their poets by adding drawings, others play with typography or sentence construction. The possibilities seem endless and the creativity shown by these individuals within the limitations of Instagram is fascinating to behold.