Dear Rupi Kaur,
Modern poetry, for me, has become conglomerate of the same distilled ideas, metaphors and, in essence, mindsets. Do not get me wrong: I won’t criticize anyone for having the same ideas nor the usage of similar rhyme patterns, but I must admit, wholeheartedly, that I am saddened by the modern representation of poetry.
It has been simplified not for the sake of “complex and compact simplicity”, which you might find in a haiku, but for accessibility and the short attention span of the likes of Instagram users and “Snapchatters”. We cannot spend more than 10 seconds on a picture. We “consume” more media; if we can call it that. We quickly glance by scrolling and forget how to engage with it, because why would we? One swipe and we are onto something new, something different and maybe something differently exciting until the next swipe or the one after that. Accessibility has killed the access; we don’t look at things anymore, we consume for the sake of consumption.
This, sadly, is in part represented within modern poetry. It has to be quick, accessible and easily digestible. I should be forced to engage with it to a minimal extend to be satisfied; and this will suffice. I should read something, understand it immediately. Ideally it should be accompanied by a picture I grasp immediately et voila: swipe, swipe, scroll, scroll onto the next bit. And if we would be a bit honest with ourselves, are we not all guilty? At least to some extent? Who takes time out of their day to go and read a caption or the wall of text you encounter on a stupid Instagram post?
Or something as absurd as a blog? Have we lost our attention span or are we not interested enough? Why is there such a big interest in poetry, but not the art? (And good god, to get to hear that from a person that has actual AD(H)D, and not the kind you would throw around willy- nilly when you can’t focus on a task at hand. Anyway, I will probably elaborate on this in a later and more personal blogpost. Besides showing my love for poetry, I might be able to talk about the stigmata that accompany ADHD, and just plain false information).
Accessibility is indeed a barrier, and it goes without saying that the targeted audience of internet poetry is by no means the same people that would enjoy a good ol’ Shakespearean banger of a sonnet… but it does it have to be? The consumers are growing, getting older, refining their interest and looking for more different new and exciting change. (I swear to everything that is holy to me, if I will ever read one more thing about cigarettes and wine, milk or honey, I will go mental…) Writers should be challenged to not appeal to the already explored market, and whilst I might come off as riding a high horse, I would like to point out that we are to blame! Yes we, all of us that write. Why force yourself and restrain yourself to this extend?
We as people that enjoy poetry should feel kinda guilty. Aren’t the ones that at least like the craftsmanship, like me, not to blame? Shouldn’t we try to portray the love we have for an art form or some sort of that art form? I do not badmouth about modern poetry, not in a direct way; it is still poetry.
I want to go the opposite direction; we should take the interest and exposure that poetry has achieved over the last years and we should elaborate on the art we love. We shouldn’t be the silent bystanders but self-reflect on the online presence we share. In a way, oughtn’t we to be thankful for an upbringing in something that might be considered a dying art?
Not claiming nor pretending anything of the likes that I might be a good representation of the cultural aspect behind writing poetry, if there is still such a thing anywhere on the social media platforms.
I think Flame and I did portray a wider array of stylistic variation within poetry. I wouldn’t dare to give any particular credit to any of the works I have done, but at least I can say with certainty that they adhere to aesthetic conventions. Conventials that are essential for a different kind of poetry. And it might be our fault that people that enjoy such formats, since we do not further our scope into these new types of media.
I might be idiosyncratic due to the environmental inputs and mindsets I encounter at the university. But I would dare to say that there is a big interest in the art of poetry and we shouldn’t blunlty assume that the recent craze for it is solely linked to Rupi Kaur, or dare I say “internet poetry”. I would claim that at least some of the people will like the depth this artistic endeavor has to offer and we need to somehow show that through the presence we have on the platforms.
We, as people that consider themselves artists to any extent, should be in the foreground, yelling and waving our art and show the world that yes, there is still poetry out there and no it is, not three sentences merged together with a a badly hand-drawn picture.
A Moron with a Blog aka Davide
(Another letter finds itself on the next page…)