Poetry is having a moment, but not the poetry that had your high school classes groaning over incomprehensible similes and metaphors. Poetry’s new wave is Instagram-aesthetic-friendly, bite-sized and most importantly, relatable.
Short, free-verse poems are gaining traction through social media like Instagram and Tumblr, creating notoriety for names like Rupi Kaur, r.h. Sin, Lang Leav, Amanda Lovelace, Orion Carloto and Courtney Peppernell.
The new wave’s most popular subjects deal with issues easily related to by readers: love, loss, heartbreak and healing. VALLEY has selected a few names to know if you’re looking to hear from the formative voices of poetry’s social media age.
Perhaps the most recognizable name in the new wave of poetry is Rupi Kaur. She made a name for herself in 2014 with “Milk and Honey,” an originally self-published book of free-verse poetry. Most of the poems are accompanied by simple line drawings, which have become popular tattoo inspirations. The book is divided into four sections: “the hurting,” “the loving,” “the breaking” and “the healing,” chronicling love and abuse through Kaur’s own words and illustrations.
2017’s “The Sun and her Flowers,” follows a similar format. Divided into five sections called “wilting,” “falling,” “rooting,” “rising” and “blooming,” Kaur’s second book is full of the self-discovery and minimalistic drawings that fans of her work have come to know and love.
One writer who gained popularity online before actually publishing any work is Orion Carloto. Originally a Youtuber and content creator, Carloto amassed an Instagram following of over 500,000 with pictures of her clothes, travels, extremely photogenic cats and moving poems.
Dealing with the same themes of heartbreak that her followers became familiar with over the past several years, Carloto’s book “Flux” was released in 2017 after months of internet teasing.
r.h. Sin, the voice behind “Whiskey, Words, & a Shovel” and the following volumes of the same title, has seemingly done nothing but write for the past three years. Sin has published over five books as of 2018, with two more currently available for pre-order.
Sin’s style encapsulates the minimalistic Instagram poet, specializing in short poems in typewriter-esque font, titled with either single words or short phrases.
Poetry’s existence has been marked by evolution, changing to fit different poets’ lives and experiences and to remain relatable to readers through the ages. With social media growing in use and popularity every day, it was only a matter of time until poetry caught up.
Which poet will you be checking out next? Tweet @VALLEYmag and show us your new favorite poem!