The Rise of the Insta-Poet

The Rise Of The Insta-Poet: 6 Modern Bards You Should Be Following

(Courtesy of British Vogue)

The digital age is often blamed for the demise of traditional art forms. Along with our attention spans, painting, music and literature are all set to perish in this overwhelming era of breaking news, fake news, memes and vlogs. Poetry, however, is fighting back.

Research has shown a 21% annual growth rate in sales of poetry books in the US since 2015, making it one of the fastest growing categories in publishing, with almost half written by Insta-poets. Similar research in the UK revealed soaring sales, with a record £12.3 million, a 12 per cent rise, for 2018, and teenage girls and young women identified as the biggest consumers. Ahead of World Poetry Day on March 21, Vogue speaks to six poets from around the world – all of whom are cutting through the social media noise – about the power of language and poetry’s newfound resonance in the digital age.

Photo: BALJIT SINGH ( @Rupikaur_ )

Photo: BALJIT SINGH (@Rupikaur_)

26-year-old Canadian-Punjabi poet Rupi Kaur is leading the charge. Her first book, Milk & Honey – which she self-published in 2015 – famously outsold Homer’s The Odyssey in 2016, spent more than 100 consecutive weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, and has now been translated into more than 35 languages. Her second book, The Sun and Her Flowers, sold a million copies within the first three months of being published in 2017. Now counted among Forbes' 30 under 30, Kaur has become one of social media’s biggest success stories – but she’s also received criticism from sceptics and traditionalists. So, what does she think of the label “Insta-poet”, which inevitably comes with the territory? (read on….)

Credit: @RUPIKAUR_

Credit: @RUPIKAUR_

Beth Ford