Why Poetry Matters Again

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It is no secret — poetry has become a staple among people over the past few years.

Going through a breakup? Read “Milk & Honey” and post your favorite sad poem on VSCO.

Want to watch a TV show? Stream one of Apple TV’s most popular shows, “Dickinson,” centering around Emily Dickinson and her poems.

Tuning into the Super Bowl? Listen for 22-year-old Amanda Gorman’s performance; the first ever poet to perform during this event.

Poetry has become widely popular and isn’t reserved just for English scholars anymore — it’s consumed and created by inspirational adults, angsty teens or really any other person in between.

No one knows this better than junior Liza Rose, creator of @lizarosepoetry and author of “Motion as the Thing That Separates the Living From the Dead.” Her poetry account on Instagram boasts almost 20k followers and it’s where she, like many others, first started sharing her work. In her words, her work is “Hopeful. Melancholy. And takes an odd interest in insects.” In VALLEY’s words, it’s awesome.

Photo posted by @lizarosepoetry on Instagram

One of her biggest inspirations for starting an Instagram poetry account and self-publishing was simply because she watched someone else do it. Liza is a perfect example of how people are able to create and share poetry so easily now. The way poetry is transforming makes it easy grounds for going viral — and oh, it is going viral.

After Amanda Gorman’s inauguration performance, she gained over 2 million followers on Instagram, is set to publish 1 million first prints of each of her three books and is the first poet to perform during a Super Bowl.

Rupi Kaur’s collection of poetry, “Milk & Honey,” has been translated into 40 languages and sold 3.5 million copies, overthrowing “The Odyssey” as the best-selling poetry book. Meanwhile, Apple’s TV show “Dickinson” was the only Apple show to make a list of the 10 most in-demand original streaming shows in 2019.

On Instagram, a new wave of “Insta poets” have taken over the poetry genre. Liza explains that on Instagram, “the shorter the poem the more successful it tends to be.” Even with her own poems, the shorter ones get more engagement. She started doing a hook method, where she leaves an excerpt from a longer poem on the first slide, and then when people swipe they get the whole poem. It’s a smart way to catch attention in an often desensitizing platform.

With virtually no gatekeeper, sometimes poetry on these platforms are unrefined and cheesy, but Liza thinks of Instagram more as a “gateway” into poetry. When asked about her feelings of poetry coming back into the mainstream, she says, “I think it’s only right that it comes back into the mainstream. It’s an absolutely timeless form of self-expression… I think as a generation we’re starting to realize that and realize the power that poetry has to connect us to people who are different than us or very similar in situation.”

I like poetry because it connects people. I feel like even if you don’t have the same circumstances or experiences as someone, you can still relate to them through the poetry that they write.

Says Liza Rose

Some traditional poets may believe new poetry in the mainstream and “Insta poetry” isn’t “real” poetry. But art is always evolving and because it’s evolving, it is resonating with people again — especially younger generations. It’s why poetry matters again. Critics reserve the right to think that poetry’s new form is not legit. But it is important — and it helps people feel less alone.

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