Instapoetry: A Breakdown of the Genre and Why It's Controversial

Feel Good Articles 🥑 5 min read
title reads: Instapoetry: A Breakdown of the Genre and Why It's Controversial. link at bottom to
Instapoetry: A Breakdown of the Genre and Why It's Controversial

Instapoetry. Many people wonder what it is. I also hear people glorify it and defend it online like they defend a Marvel movie. And others tear it to shreds, proclaiming it's the worst thing to happen to poetry since they stopped using old English. Not prepared to see any good in the new format at all and gatekeeping poetry till no one wants to read it anymore. Others are more lenient.

Today I’m going to break down what Instapoetry is. Why do people love it? Why do people hate it? And what the structure of Instapoetry is.

What is Instapoetry?

Instapoetry, in short, is poetry that is posted to Instagram. The poetry is typically short. However, some poetry has been put online that is two snapshots long and follows the typical length of a poem. The length itself varies.

The poetry is typically made to be shared on social media. And has short, direct lines, and whenever the writer of the poetry uses the letter ‘I.’, They keep it to the lowercase ‘i’. An illustration of some sort also joins the poetry. However, with all poetry, this isn’t a hard and fast rule.

Many Instapoets have risen to fame in recent years, such as Rupi Kaur with their debut poetry anthology ‘Milk and Honey’ (2017). Other poets include Amanda Lovelace and Lang Leav, who have all caught the attention of the traditional publishing industry.

paid advertising - shop

Why do people like it?

Before going over the criticism of Instapoetry, we might as well look at the good of Instapoetry.

Many people enjoy the format. It’s short, quick, and simple to understand. In an increasingly digital age where we have low attention spans, insta poetry is easier to read and digest for most audiences.

Plus, if you get confused with metaphors and similes easily, because of the direct nature of the poetry, it removes a barrier for some when it comes to reading and enjoying poetry. As of now, they find the images and themes easier to understand. You don’t have to mull over the writers’ intention.

Many also agree that the direct and short nature of the poetry acts as a good first step for readers who want to start reading poetry for pleasure. And, has made poetry more popular in the digital age after being drained of any fun! Thanks to a 50-year-old English teacher who wants to know why John Dunne used the microcosm in the macrocosm. (For anyone that doesn’t get that, search up the metaphysical poets and then Plato’s microcosm theory.)

Why do people hate it?

For every big phenomenon, there are always criticisms. Some are valid and have a huge amount of truth to them, and other times, it's a person screaming into the computer at 3 A.M wanting everyone to stay the same.

Insta poetry is the same. Garnering valid criticism from those in good faith and some gatekeeping criticism to the point of no return. But what exactly is this criticism?

the most popular streamed courses...

Subject matter

For some, the subject matter in the poems is not explored enough in the poetry. I mean that the poetry is so short that the topic explored hasn’t had enough time to develop and be fully realized in the poem for it to fulfill the message or purpose of the theme properly. So the audience feels a shot of empowerment or sadness or whatever the emotion is. It doesn’t impact as well as it should! The reader is left wanting more from the poem, either from the imagery or from another technique. The poems don’t feel like the natural end.

Usually, wanting more from a poet is good because you want to read more of their work. However, when it's due to the poem lacking something, it's bad because the poem hasn't done the job it's meant to.

And so, this does cause the poem to read like an inspirational quote.

To Drink Coffee With a Ghost

For example, in Amanda Lovelace’s to drink coffee with a ghost (2019), the second poem, just as I’m getting invested and enjoying the imagery of the burrowed chestnuts and the perfect daughter, the poem ends on the strongest line ‘Communication was never our strong point.’ and whilst it's a strong line. It feels impactful for a microsecond. After reading it, I felt like there was more to this poem, more to explore, and that the last line should’ve been the beginning of the next stanza, explored a little more, and repeated throughout.

There is strong imagery there, but the early ending stops it from being fully effective. The reader is left with a small pang of emotion that is fleeting. It’s got the makings of a poem, but it feels empty because the lack of communication hasn’t been utilized and explored in the images and lines.

However, I am very aware this is subjective and that you might have a different opinion.

Good insta poetry

This doesn’t mean there isn’t good insta poetry such as Lang Leav and her poems ‘Leaves’ and ‘I know’. The imagery is brilliant and fully realized and ends on a natural note that enables the instapoetry to linger and take root.

Go and read some online and make your own decision as to whether instapoetry is good or bad!

Ultimately like any genre, there is some good and some bad. It’s good it exists as more people read other poems and appreciate more classical works thanks to Insta poets. Also, poetry has always changed shape and style depending on culture and placement from the Ghazal to the Haiku. This is another development of that structural change.

However, whether the actual content is good depends on personal preferences and how well it utilizes poetry's main elements/rules. And like any good art form, it should be criticized to make it better but not to the point we pan it immediately and gatekeep. There is a middle ground.

Whether people like it or not, Instapoetry is here to stay.

Give us feedback, leave a review

Share, Leave a comment, and tell us what you think, we always love to hear from you...

Sign up to our newsletter for regular articles like these!
Sign up for your influencer news & sponsor paying gigs
Sign up for our newsletter