“Instagram Poets” Are a Problem

Do not like poetry, devour it

Devarya Singhania, Staff Writer

Every post that I scroll through authored by an ‘Instagram poet’ is disappointing. Their poems feature conjoined, dangling rhymes that are squeezed into roughly three painful lines. The posts are often adorned with cheesy sketches of hearts, butterflies, or stars. This is the poetry on Instagram. 

I find it troubling to even associate the delicate word ‘poetry’ with the disfigured adaptation of literature on social media. Instagram has reduced poetry to careless rhymes, expressed through poorly written verse. This kind of poetry largely suffers because of the restrictions imposed by posting work on social media, and it is difficult to find examples of Instagram poets who are pushing any boundaries. The themes these poems examine are often pathetically similar. I do not despise love poems at all, but poets on Instagram seem to be strangers to literally any other theme. Four lines about an unanswered message, or the same length for a text they wish they had sent. The limited scope of these works is enough to limit my enjoyment of any poetry post that I come across. 

Art is ambiguous, so I cannot define what a poem should look like. And I am not trying to say that my poems are the greatest, or suggest that poets should not use Instagram to share and promote their work. But the manner in which poems are being shared right now, in a way that is, in my opinion, defaming literature, frightens me. The fast-paced carelessness that posting on social media encourages is not suitable for creating good work. I cannot skim over poetry, and these social media poems are requesting me to do so. I need poetry to consume me with its complexity, but social media reduces it to redundant rhymes.

What is at stake here is why the poetry is being created. If it is haphazardly put together to appease an algorithm or fit into a consistent posting schedule, the work doesn’t come from the heart of the poet. Instead, it comes from social media, and this is a recipe for disaster – a short and lifeless disaster that is a waste of time to read. On the other hand, using social media to promote poetry that is written at the pace a poet needs to develop a strong piece of work is effective, and perhaps necessary, in this day and age. Instagram does not need to stop posting poetry, but poets need to stop writing for Instagram.