Rogier's art as Instapoetry

Kristi van der Zanden

What is included in the term 'Instapoetry'? 

While I was already familiar with poets on Instagram, I had never heard of the term ‘Instapoetry’ and all that comes with it. The theory behind poems on Instagram became clear after the lecture on this subject. The first thing that came in mind after the lecture is the Dutch artist Rogier Roeters. I have been following him for a while now, and I really like his controversial verses/poems on Instagram. The fact that he combines poems with drawings enforces, in my eyes, the meaning of the artwork. He doesn't explicit refers to poems on his Instagram page but to artwork. But wat is the explicit meaning of Instapoetry?  

According to Kila van der Starre's research on what Instagrammers count under Instapoetry, the following things are mentioned that make people consider a text on Instagram as poetry: end of rhyme, breaks of lines, aesthetic experience, emotion (from both reader and author), figurative language, puns and be made to think. Although texts that are seen as a spell or quote, that do not contain visual language or emotions, and that are clichéd, simple or short, are not considered as poetry. (van der Starre, 2012)

Rogier Roeters

Roggier Roeters (@rogierroeters) is a Dutch artist with 392.000 followers on Instagram. In his Instagram bio he describes himself as an artist. The majority of his work consists of drawings, and most of these drawings contain text. Some of the drawings contains a lot of text, the other a little less, some even just. His artworks with a lot of text, can be described, in my opinion, as poems. I’m a big fan of his work because of the combination of art and words. But mainly because of the topics which he uncovers in his poems. These topics are often very sensitive and therefore not discussed much, this is what I like about them.

In "De Nationale Zwelgavond", Willie Wartaal visits Rogier at his workshop to take a look at his life and his way of working. Willie describes him as an artist who throws drawings out at a fast pace about awkward situations, painful moments that other people actually prefer to avoid. This agrees with the artist in question, Rogier explains: "I try to arrange the impressions of the world around me and to give it a twist by means of a drawing." He finds inspiration in the fact that we are in the world with so many people, but at the same time we are all alone. People will never fully understand each other, and in his drawings he tries to show that feeling and to touch people with it. (Roeters, Willie Wartaal en Rogier Roeters | Zwelgavond, 2019)

(Roeters, Willie Wartaal en Rogier Roeters | Zwelgavond, 2019)

“We are all vulnerable people in the end, and that we actually do not differ that much.” – Rogier Roeters

Layers in Rogier's poems

The poem below is recently uploaded by Rogier and reviewed on its layers. The poem doesn’t have a title, I couldn’t find any explanation why he doesn’t give names to his artworks. I think because they are really short and speak for themselves. 

(Roeters, Rogier Roeters, n.d.)

The first layer of the poem, is the device you watch the poem on. In this case I used my laptop, but normally I only use Instagram on my smartphone. I first got acquainted with Rogier Roeters via Instagram on my phone. The second layer tells the app where Rogier shares his poems, he uses Instagram to post his poems. His feed isn’t consistent in anything. Not in colour, or content, he just post what he wants to post.

Layer three is the material layer, the materiality of the poem itself. All artworks from Rogier are made on paper. If you scroll through his Instagram feed this becomes clear. With some posts you see the edge of a sheet of paper, and with some you don't see this. But you can tell from the structure and colour of the background that it was made on paper or cardboard. The poem above consist of a drawing of a phone in which the text is displayed and automatically links to the subject of the poem. The text is centred in the middle of the phone and projected all over the screen. You see that the text is written by hand, the handwriting is not necessarily very neat.

The text consists of a message from someone who asks a certain person if he can touch and give him the same attention as he does with his phone. This message refers to the fact nowadays people are very attached to their phones and give them more attention than their loved ones. The fact that Rogier has displayed this message in a telephone reinforces the message of the poem, and the interrelation between the linguistic and the material code becomes clear. 
Layer four consist of the drawing of the phone on a white paper, with a black marker and pen, with the poem displayed on the screen of the phone. A picture was made of this and posted on Instagram.

Theoretical information 

You can say about this poem that is related to multimediality, as it is objected on a phone (media), drawn on paper (media), then photographed and published on Instagram (media). Therefor mulitple media are combined in one project. Also the content of the phone, which is a media, is displayed another media; namely Instagram. This refers to remediation. 

Rogier has his own website. On this site he refers to an exhibition where his artworks are displayed. You can also view his works of art on this site, even buy them, and contact the artist in question. Rogier promotes his website via his Instagram page. (Roeters, Rogier Roeters, n.d.) On his website there are several videos in which he gets interviewed about his artworks and way of working. He promotes his work and makes himself visible in a transmedia way, via his Instagram page, website and several interviews online on YouTube.

 (Roeters, 2019)


Roeters, R. (2019). Retrieved November 13, 2019, from

Roeters, R. (2019, January 6). Willie Wartaal en Rogier Roeters | Zwelgavond. (W. Wartaal, Interviewer) VPRO. Retrieved November 13, 2019, from

Roeters, R. (n.d.). Rogier Roeters. Retrieved November 13, 2019, from Rogier Roeters:

van der Starre, K. (2012). Tim Hofman post voor het eerst een gedicht op Instagram. DW B, 37-48. Retrieved November 13, 2019