From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Instapoetry is a style of written poetry that emerged after the advent of social media. Instapoetry is a term that can be used to describe poems written specifically for being shared online, most commonly on Instagram (but also other platforms including Twitter, Tumblr, and TikTok).

Such form usually consists of short, direct lines in aesthetically pleasing fonts that are sometimes accompanied by an image or drawing, with or without a rhyme scheme.[1][2]


Instapoetry developed as a result of poets trying to share their work in order to expand their readership. Writers of this "sub-genre" began using social media as their preferred method of distribution rather than traditional publishing methods. The term "instapoetry" was created by other writers trying to define and understand the new extension of instant poetry shared via social media, most prominently Instagram.[3]

In its most basic form, Instapoetry usually consists of byte-sized verses that consider political and social subjects such as immigration, domestic violence, sexual assault, love, culture, feminism, gun violence, war, racism, LGBTQ rights, and other social justice topics.[2][4] All of these elements are usually made to fit social media feeds that are easily accessible through applications on smartphones.[3][5][6]


Despite challenging the structure of traditional poetry, supporters argue that while a reader can easily dismiss the simplicity of the style, Instapoetry provides a modern take on traditional poetic principles. They argue that many works by writers in the literary canon were once criticized for deviating from the standards of their time. While Instapoets may be looked down upon by those in academia, these writers have opened a door to poetry in a way that traditional education has failed to do.[5][better source needed] Some academics appreciate the way in which it has stimulated interest in poetry.[7][unreliable source?][8]

Instapoetry has inspired record high poetry readership around the world.[9][better source needed] This is because Instapoetry remains one of the most accessible forms of poetry. The lines are usually clear, to the point, and short; emotionally intense and vulnerable; not hidden underneath layers of metaphor or verbose language. According to Huma Qureshi, writer at The Guardian, Instapoetry is instantly relatable to almost everyone who reads it due to the manner in which the poems are designed and posted online.[10] Additionally, Instagram allows users to add a caption to the images they post. This feature is frequently used by Instapoets to explain the piece's meaning and derivation. The caption is also the space where users add hashtags to their post that categorize their poems as #nature or #mental health. Most Instapoets carefully employ hashtags in the hopes of obtaining the biggest possible readership.

Instapoems also lure readers in with their low-commitment experience, according to critic Elizabeth Brueggemann.[11] For example, to figure out what an  instapoem's meaning is, readers do not need to think critically about the strong metaphors or other such concepts. Instead, instapoems encourage the readers to critique the institutions, organizations and communities that oppress certain sections of the population.[12]

Instapoetry has been a social space for feminist communities. Female empowerment, sisterhood, rape, trauma, female experience and sexuality are some of the common themes that are dominant in #instapoetry. For example, Rupi Kaur’s immigrant-themed work attracted women of color looking for representation.[13] Therefore, following these poets on social media sites such as Instagram enable different groups to self-define themselves and relate to the specific viewpoints or political ideologies of the instapoet.[14]


Many critics argue that since Instapoets avoid critical evaluations, academics, and the publishing industry, Instapoets should just be viewed as online celebrities rather than literary figures.[15]

Some critics view this style of poetry as a disgrace to "real" poetry.[2][3] Vinu Caspar reflects on the ways Instapoetry has turned poetry into a "capitalist" endeavor, and believes that the words are emotionless and written only to attract followers. The rate at which these instapoets produce new material, he argues, steals from "[p]oets who spend years honing their craft, carefully writing and rewriting every line, practicing their performance over and over...". The feeling is that instapoetry is a collection of words with little-to-no meaning, "under the guise of poetry."[16][better source needed]

Similarly, Thom Young, a poet and high school English teacher, created a parody Instagram page as a way to mock instapoets and their work. He states, "the younger generation is mostly interested in fidget-spinner poetry. Like they're just scrolling on their devices, to read something instantly, while the libraries are empty. I think people today don't want to read anything that causes a whole lot of critical thinking." The page was created to show how effortlessly anyone can become an instapoet, and to display the lack of difficulty in writing this form of poetry.[17]

Social media platforms, on the other hand, may also kill the creativity that inspired such poetry in the first place. According to Johnathan Ford's piece in the Financial Times, Instagram's algorithms are limiting prospective Instapoets' reach-per-post, pushing them to pay to promote their material. The most popular Instagram accounts — the ones with the most likes and follows — will be promoted to the front of users' feeds. This algorithm theoretically favors the spread of bland, inauthentic, or clichéd content while preventing genuine creative thinking from reaching its intended audience.[18]



  1. ^ McElwee, Molly (2017-10-31). "INSTAPOETRY - The age of scrolling literature". The Gibraltar Magazine. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  2. ^ a b c Wilson, Carl (17 December 2017). "The Most Popular Poets in the World". The New York Times Book Review. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "The Legitimacy of Instapoetry: Why We Need It to Save Poetry Publishing". PUB800. 2018-10-01. Archived from the original on 2021-11-17. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  4. ^ Books, P. M. N. (2018-06-06). "Verse goes viral: Instagram poets shake up the literary establishment | National Post". National Post. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
  5. ^ a b "Instapoetry - the polarizing new poetry style that is making poetry relevant again". The Odyssey Online. 2018-01-10. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  6. ^ Francois, Menda (27 July 2018). "Instapoetry + "Traditional" Poetry: Art Forms for the Future". Plurality Press. Archived from the original on 2020-11-23. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  7. ^ 24symbols (2019-02-13). "InstaPoets are revolutionizing the genre". 24stories. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  8. ^ Ferguson, Donna (2019-01-21). "Poetry sales soar as political millennials search for clarity". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
  9. ^ Hein, Ana (2020-08-21). "What is Instapoetry?". The Open Bookshelf. Retrieved 2021-11-14.
  10. ^ "How do I love thee? Let me Instagram it". the Guardian. 2015-11-23. Retrieved 2021-12-03.
  11. ^ "Turning Page | The "Insta-Activist": Revolutions in Poetry". Retrieved 2021-12-03.
  12. ^ "Turning Page | The "Insta-Activist": Revolutions in Poetry". Retrieved 2021-12-03.
  13. ^ Carlin, Shannon (2017-12-21). "Meet Rupi Kaur, Queen of the 'Instapoets'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2021-11-14.
  14. ^ Thomas, Bronwen (2020-01-31). Literature and Social Media. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-000-02585-9.
  15. ^ Thomas, Bronwen (2020-01-31). Literature and Social Media. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-000-02585-9.
  16. ^ Casper, Vinu (2018-04-13). "Challenging the insta-poet community". Vanguard. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
  17. ^ "Why this poet is posting meaningless verse on Instagram". PBS NewsHour. 2017-06-12. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
  18. ^ Ford, Jonathan (2019-05-24). "Instagram threatens to stifle a new generation of poets". Financial Times. Retrieved 2021-11-14.

External links[edit]