I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
- Abstract from Allan Ginsberg: “Howl”
Expression. What most definitions have in common is that poetry expresses emotions, makes something inwardly speak to the outside, private becoming public, communicating otherwise unspeakable things. Do Instagram poets only use poetry as a diary for experiences and all to obvious messages – conveyed in unambiguous words? Isn’t it more effective if it is clearer?
Maggy is a young poet from Germany – her central topic being mental health. She has collected nearly 10K followers that she shares her story and poetry with. In a conversation I asked her what Instagram poetry is, whether it is real poetry and what it can do.
What does it mean to be a poet nowadays?
in my poems
through my lines
at my paintings
through my eyes
How does Instagram change the way poetry is read and perceived?
The way I recognize and see it, thanks to Instagram poetry isn't this old romantic complex chaos of rhyming words anymore.
Instagram poetry turns a chaos of overly romantic complex words into something, people can read, understand and feel like something has been expressed, that they could not have put into words themselves. Through reading poems, they get to know themselves. Instagram only allows art to be shared and distributed more.
Do you feel like the community and the immediate feedback of social media supports your writing, especially since you have to struggle with social anxiety so much?
26. november 2020
I get naked all the time
not with clothes,
but by sharing
thoughts of mine
Instagram poetry is often not seen as ‚real serious poetry‘ because it is too simple. It is not highly symbolic, it doesn’t hide the message much, it states rather clearly and quickly what it wants to say. This might be partly because people scroll through social media without pondering on something for much longer than a few seconds. But isn’t the point of art to do that exactly? To ponder, to ask, to think twice, to unlock individual messages that are not meaning the same to everyone? Does Instagram poetry put that into danger? Individual messages? Interpretations? Thinking about art for longer than a couple of seconds? Finding an individual message in something ambiguous?
Does social media therefore somehow generalize and objectify art in a way, making it a simple product of quick consumption? Obviously, social media makes art available to more people, maybe makes it less elitist. However, isn‘t it elitist to think that people cannot think for themselves and find messages on their own? Is that not exactly what consumerism wants? And shouldn’t thinking twice and thinking symbolically and asking again be encouraged?
I think the Instagram poetry is exactly doing the opposite of being meaningless online art. Instagram offers a place to open up through poetry – and while reading poems one might spend longer than a few seconds on a post. Instagram poetry, therefore, reminds people what art is and how to take time for it – while scrolling through thousands of images, one has to be selective. An Instagram poem lets people relax, stop, think and get inspired. My followers really do. My followers even comment my posts and sometimes post new poems inspired by mine. Poetry is not junkfood, you can eat in two minutes. The message of words is not as clear as that of a photograph at times – and even people on Instagram feel like they need to take time to read a poem. It's important to never forget that there’s people behind social media and people do things differently. There is certainly some for whom Instagram poetry is a junkfood product. That’s not the case for me, however. I am who I am and will do whatever I feel like. My focus is not to please people but to do my thing – which might mean less people following me.
Obviously, social media makes art available to more people- in a way less elitist but that’s great! Art should never be just for an elite. Art should be available for everyone. Art is often seen as unreachable and special – but it doesn’t have to be.
Poetry is in my opinion just words, simple or complicated, written down by different people. It has nothing to with consumerism if you use Instagram the way I do – as expression rather than means to an end.
Art should encourage and inspire people – that’s one of its most important functions. Poetry can reach hidden places in people’s souls. Whether in a direct manner or with metaphor – poetry is open for interpretation. But Instagram doesn’t require people to interpret – it also allows to simply read, enjoy and appreciate. Poetry is free.
If you feel like reading more about Maggy on her website: https://www.fakemaggy.com/
What’s you opinion about the topic? Write in the comments!