The Insta-poetry Movement: Tyler Knott Gregson, Rupi Kaur, and Lang Leav

The poetry of Lang Leav, Rupi Kaur, and Tyler Knott Gregson are well known to more than just the poetic community. Their writing styles vary widely, from Rupi Kaur’s trauma-focused poetry to Tyler Knott Gregson’s and Lang Leav’s modern take of romantic poetry. So, what makes these artists similar? What makes them any different than any other poet publishing right now? The answer is simple. Each and every writer listed above has a deep investment in social media and have become successful by posting their poetry on either Instagram, Tumblr or Twitter, where they have access to a much larger audience than by simply publishing a book of poetry.

You may never have heard of these authors,or picked up one of their books, but it is likely that you have at least encountered them. Maybe it was a poem shared from Rupi Kaur’s Instagram like this one:

one from Tyler Knott Gregson:

or one from Lang Leav:

You may have ignored them, maybe muttered something about the difficulty of understanding poetry, or the outdatedness of poetry in today’s society, but each of these authors goes out of their way to make themselves accessible, and aesthetically pleasing to their audience. These poets rarely (if ever) write a poem over 1 page, and if it’s posted online it is rarely over 30 lines. These poems are short, sweet and get to the point without any unnecessary or superfluous language, making them fast and easy reads. But the length of a poem doesn’t give the poem value unless it has something to say.

These poems are valuable because of their ability to connect with their audience. Every one of these poets focuses on love in their poetry. For Rupi Kaur it is self-love and the confusing emotions surrounding recovery and healing from an abusive relationship. Tyler Knott Gregson and Lang Leav look at love in a more conventional way where their poems address the beloved and outline their emotions for them. Everyone understands love, whether it be for a friend, a family member, or a lover, we have all felt some type of love, all felt some type of loss. Each of these poets uses our ability to connect with the universal topic of love and present something that can be understood and appreciated by a wide audience.

Many poets write emotional and meaningful poetry, so what makes Tyler Knott Gregson, Rupi Kaur, and Lang Leav so famous? the answer to that is ultimately their Instagram pages. While Tyler Knot Gregson prints his poems on old scraps of paper and photographs, Rupi Kaur uses illustrations to make her poetry stand out. each poet has their own distinct signature, their own distinct look. But it doesn’t stop there. Each of these poets also has a formulaic approach to social media, and how they represent their own individual brands as poets. Rupi Kaur and Lang Leav use alternating photographs and poems to give their pages a distinct “look”. Tyler Knott does something similar where he alternates a poem with a photo background, a poem, and a photograph. Each of these methods creates a stunning Instagram page that represents each person’s brand.

Tyler Knott Gregson, Rupi Kaur, and Lang Leav may be recreating poetry as we know it, but they do not represent poetry as a whole. Their status as Instapoets gives them access to an audience that other poets do not have and open the door for people who love their work to experience more from poetry. So, if you love or want to check out any of these poets, good, but don’t limit yourself to them. Go to a local bookstore, flip through a local poet’s book, go to the poetry section in Chapters. Find something else you love. You are entering a world much bigger than Instagram, one that has been around a lot longer, experience it.