INSTA-POETRY, IS THIS ART?
THE JURY IS STILL OUT
In her editorial of issue 37, Shirley Bell weighed in and shared her view of the so-called Instapoets. Shirley opened her piece by quoting Rebecca Watts, who wrote an article in the February 2018 PN Review asking the question:
“Why is the poetry world pretending that poetry is not an art form? I refer to the rise of a cohort of young female poets who are currently being lauded by the poetic establishment for their ‘honesty’ and ‘accessibility’—buzzwords for the open denigration of intellectual engagement and rejection of craft that characterises their work.”
Then, Shirley made the point that to write good poetry, the poet must engage with the craft and its techniques, and though she did admit to understanding the consolation in reading this work compared to, what she called, more challenging poetry. She maintained that in this Insta-poetry, the reader would lose the joy of finding the less obvious pleasures of entering a poem. Shirley’s editorial raised a few eyebrows. Many believe vehemently that there is value in art of any form. And as a literary magazine, we come down on the side of the traditional, are we right?
The two articles represent opposing views and make for an interesting juxtaposition, not least because the respective authors present arguments that we might see as contrary to their perceived demographic.
In her article, Ada Wofford does not malign her generation, but in comparing the work of the Instapoets to hip-hop lyrics which she cites as having poetic merit, she is less than complimentary of the former. While in his article, Adrian Salmon defends the Insta-poets and takes exception to Shirley’s editorial, and questions the role of the gatekeeper.
And so, the argument rumbles on—have your say in the poll and comments section below.
Who do you think makes the most convincing argument?
“Stranger, dreams verily are baffling and unclear of meaning, and in no wise do they find fulfilment in all things for men. For two are the gates of shadowy dreams, and one is fashioned of horn and one of ivory. Those dreams that pass through the gate of sawn ivory deceive men, bringing words that
“This is the American Dream in action! We’d be fools not to ride this strange torpedo all the way out to the end.” I don’t consider myself a poet. I studied poetry in college, I’ve written poems, I’ve even had a few published in some dinky little journal no one’s ever going to read and
VENT YOUR SPLEEN, TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.