If you’re not an eager beaver when it comes to reading literature, it’s highly likely that the word ‘poetry’ triggers flashbacks to your high school days, when you were forced to sit through pages and pages of William Shakespeare. For a lot of the school population, trawling endlessly through archaic language and finding meaning in words you didn’t care about was a terrible way to spend your time. Although it got you a grade, it taught you to steer clear of poetry, possibly forever.
Of course, that may not be the case for everyone. It certainly isn’t for me. As a lover of literature – and especially of poetry – the word fills me with a sense of excitement and belonging. It’s a shame that not everyone feels that way.
It’s possible to fall in love with poetry again without having to trawl through Tudor sonnets. Luckily, in this world of connectivity and social media, it’s easier than ever to find what you love, when you want it.
Here are 5 reasons why you should start following Instagram poets.
1. There’s something for everyone
Poetry is for everyone. Poetry speaks to the heart about personal matters, personal emotions and personal endeavours: it is meant to make someone feel something, somewhere, and that includes you too.
Not all poetry is going to be your taste – Shakespeare probably proved that to you – but that doesn’t have to mean that all poetry is not going to be your taste. You might really enjoy plain-speaking poetry from certain poets, or well-established poetry forms like sonnets.
Instagram, like all social media, is designed to be accessible and community-based. You’ve got real people writing beautiful things, and if a poet is writing something to your taste then Instagram is the middle man that lets you see it.
2. Modern ideals from modern poets
A thoroughly modern reader needs a thoroughly modern poet. Not only does Instagram make poetry far more accessible than before, but it also lets you find real-life poets, with real-life perspectives, on things that are happening in real time. However you engage with the world, these poets are engaging with it too.
There’s a reason why poets like Rupi Kaur and Nayyirah Waheed are so successful. Poets on Instagram are way more likely to speak to the moments that matter in this lifetime than the poetry of old – though there are certain themes that are universal, no matter how dead the writer is. Instead of old, dead, white (predominantly) men who were lucky enough to be educated, poetry nowadays is bursting with writers from all walks of life with all different perspectives.
Inclusion goes hand in hand with the connectivity found through social media, and from variety comes a great deal of great poetry for you to tuck into.
3. Thought provoking and relatable
Let’s face it: a lot of Instagram is taken up by everyone trying to show off how good their life is. Seeing people have a good time is satisfying enough, but it’s not a crime to want to break up the selfies and the posing with something that engages a little more of your brain.
Sometimes it’s news articles that make you think deeply, or a video. Sometimes, however, it can be literature. Delving into the emotions and the thoughts behind the cherry-picked words of a poem can be an entertaining way to engage with yourself and the world around you. If you see yourself in the words, or if you find yourself diving into interpretation and emotion, then you’re keeping your brain healthy and happy!
4. Rediscover a love for literature
It may be the case that you once loved reading. However heavy-handed your love of reading was – if you were the primary school nerd or you just had a passing interest – it may have fallen by the wayside in the mire of school and exams and social lives.
This doesn’t have to be the case anymore. Following poets on Instagram can be a fantastic way to ease your brain back into reading regularly; seeing it on your Instagram feed means that poetry is never far away, and soon you’ll come to expect bites of literature as if this were always the case. This can be your stepping stone to longer literature!
5. Awaken the writer in you
If you’ve got a desire to read poetry, then it might not be a stretch to assume you want to write it too. Instapoets can be inspiring models of how to present a talent to an audience.
With your Instagram followers, friends and family already on board, this can be something you can do – and get a lot of feedback for. Take guidance from the published poets on Instagram, enrol in classes or research online, and get writing!