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Instapoetry Is Not That Bad, and Here’s Why

Words by Gayle Dy

fall
in love
with your solitude
-rupi kaur

Would you consider this as poetry? Or did any of these thoughts below reflect those of yours?

“But it’s so simple and surface-level.”

“They’re basically just cut-up sentences with excessive use of line breaks.”

“The writing is so lazy.”

“Since when have quotes been considered poetry?”

These are just some of the most common reasons why a lot of people dislike the new wave of contemporary poetry better known as Instagram poetry, or instapoetry, greatly popularized by the works of Rupi Kaur, Nikita Gill, and R.M. Drake. Many even go so far as to say that it isn’t or shouldn’t even be referred to as poetry, for putting someone like the said latter next to Plath and Shakespeare would cause eternal unrest in the literary world.

But didn’t it ever occur to anyone what a burden it is to be comparing the poets of our time to the poets of the Renaissance and Romantic Period? We are living in completely different worlds from them. And yet, somehow, we are still under pressure to be the Next Great Dickinson or Keats when we really should’ve been trying to be the Next Great Us.

And that’s the thing I love about instapoetry–it isn’t trying to pass off as something else; it’s creating a new brand for itself that is accessible to everyone through its bite-sized, yet punch-packed pieces that always seem to find us on days when we need to hear them the most.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bt1F385Hn0n/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Because that’s what poetry is and should always be–a limitless concept. We often forget that writing is a subjective craft and that by trying to objectify it, we end up wrecking its beauty and essence, which is to express, feel, perceive; and as a result, to find, miraculously, that we connect and even resonate with someone. And I think that this essence is lost on us every time we say that ‘this piece is more poetic than the other,’ or ‘this is too _____ to be poetry.’

READ ALSO: Is Instagram poetry real poetry?

In the end, different genres appeal to different people for different reasons, and instapoetry, whether you like it or not, is part of that. It’s okay to dislike a certain genre, but to refuse to even acknowledge it as a whole is completely disrespectful.

So, to welcome and destigmatize instapoetry, Here are 3 Reasons Why Instapoetry Is Not That Bad:

1. It has opened up a gate for more conversation about controversial topics.

Rupi Kaur is notorious for her jolting and one might even dare say, unsettling poems that tackle much on femininity, sexism, sexual abuse, and empowerment. One of her most controversial themes is one that happens to be a taboo topic in many societies–menstruation. For centuries, menstruation has been viewed as an impure and unsanitary process, and therefore, is not widely acknowledged in countries such as Africa and India. Fortunately, this never stopped Kaur from trying to break the stigma:

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bmrmu3Pg3Uv/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

But the battle was still far from over. Do you remember this picture posted by Kaur on her Instagram a few years back?

https://www.instagram.com/p/0ovWwJHA6f/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

It had been taken down by the social media site twice because it went against one of their community guidelines, particularly its strict prohibition of sharing anything linked to sexual acts, violence, and nudity–all of which clearly have no relation whatsoever to menstruation.

Fueled by her indignation, Kaur took a stand on Facebook, saying, “Thank you Instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique. You deleted my photo twice stating that it goes against community guidelines. I will not apologize for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak. When your pages are filled with countless photos/accounts where women (so many who are underage) are objectified, pornified, and treated less than human. thank you.”

Her post, which went viral almost immediately, made Instagram reverse its decision and reinstall the picture back into her account after just one day! Kaur, of course, didn’t claim the glory all for herself:

https://www.instagram.com/p/0seuM1HA4p/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

All hail Rupi Kaur, queen of Instapoetry!

2. It serves as encouragement that we don’t need to write like Shakespeare in order to compose poetry.

Any ordinary writer (including myself) would gladly concede to having underestimated himself at least once after realizing that his poems are not exactly Shakespearian. And that’s okay.

Remember that poetry is yours for the making.

It doesn’t have to hide behind metaphors or have a traditional rhyme scheme in order to be beautiful. It just needs to have heart in it, and instapoetry is full of that.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BTzyhCrlkCp/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

3. It’s more universal and accessible.

Lang Leav and Rupi Kaur are often targets of criticism for their minimalist and straightforward writing style. When asked about it, the writers answered that it was written that way on purpose, so as to avoid any unnecessary confusion with the readers, much like what Kaur felt when she had to dissect poems layer-by-layer in her poetry classes.

And this, I believe, is what sets instapoetry apart from the rest–what you see is what you get, and the simplicity still clicks. Because sometimes all we need is a short reminder that we are beautiful, or that we’re going to be okay on days when we have no one to tell us so.

These bits of sweet poetry and prose are definitely not for everyone, but one can’t deny how even a twelve-word-story is enough to stir your heart.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BgSXQDQA-yb/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

What do you think of instapoetry? Let us know your take on it in the comments!