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Continue with Facebook. Top 75 Poetry blogs. Yost, in his trollish way, showed that he understood something essential about Atticus and his appeal. The way to break the spell was first to show the actual man behind the poetry.
When I began working on a piece about Instagram poetry, a year ago, I had no intentions of breaking any spell. I was hoping to interview a number of working poets, booksellers and publishers about the resurgence of poetry on social media and beyond. Smith and other acclaimed poets even ones without the surname Smith have seen urgent, cathartic poems go viral on Twitter. I wanted to find what was working in a social media poetry world that has swept in so many new readers. Versions of this story get written from time to time, and they tend toward a patronizing sunniness.
These stories map an increasingly egalitarian poetry landscape. In place of the traditional gatekeeping system is a supportive, welcoming environment, particularly for marginalized voices. Purveyors of female empowerment and romantic expression like Kaur, Nikita Gill and Yrsa Daley-Ward flourished in this ecosystem.
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Instagram poets who might not get a second look from the predominantly white literary establishment have risen to prominence on their own. The trend is democratizing, both for writers and readers. According to booksellers and publishers, the work of Instagram poets really is bringing in a new audience. All this new readership seems like a net positive for poets with traditional careers, as well.
Graywolf, an indie press that publishes numerous acclaimed poets, has been enjoying the effects of a poetry boom. Overall, i n these pieces and in the cheery round-ups of the best Instagram poets, the trend is presented as pretty much all upside: more poetry, more reading, more expression.
In Their Own Words
But as with so many things on the Internet, anyone who pokes around the realm of Instapoetry quickly finds herself wrestling with shadows, with half-truths and pseudonyms and slippery motives. The men who unmasked Atticus are hardly straightforward actors themselves. It turns out there is better art and artifice in the creation of the characters who make Instagram poetry than in any of the poetry itself.
At first blush, Collin Yost embodies a straightforward Instapoetry type: perhaps more of a cosplayer than an artist, but a genuine and even sentimental one. In his ripped black jeans and bowler hats, Yost taps out his achingly earnest lines on a IBM Selectric II, garnishing the poems with actual cigarettes. In August , he became a weird sort of semi-famous when his book of maudlin, derivative verse received a drubbing from a claque of Twitter critics and literary blogs.
Afterward he assumed such an air of wounded innocence that even one of his tormentors, writer Laura Yan, was remorseful. We must get back to roots and feelings and fire. This surprised me, as so many revelations from the Instapoetry world did. I reached out to Yost, who clarified a little. And it worked. Yost, who had around 10, followers in August and now has over 18,, tapped into the same market as poets like Kaur, whom he once openly criticized. During the wave of backlash from Twitter critics, Yost responded with taunts about his book earnings.
After the wave crested, he seemed to realize that getting popular and marketable on Instagram is a political game, a potentially lucrative one, and needs to be played carefully. And he seems to be the motivating force behind the latest data dump.
Yost also told HuffPost that most of the instances of alleged plagiarism were compiled by Young, who had tried posting about Atticus on his own Instagram without getting much attention. Young, who lives in Texas, is a published poet. After noticing that Instagrammers were attracting huge follower counts by posting poems he found trite and insubstantial, he began to follow suit, posting saccharine one-line poems on his account, even as his captions hinted at the joke or openly criticized this style of poetry. The approach was double-pronged: He was taking the piss out of successful poets like Kaur and Atticus, but also exploiting the same tactics to boost his own profile.
Young expressed some real disdain for this kind of popular poetry, and some resentment about the advantage these poets have in building audiences. Young, at least, is no longer being ignored. He quickly built a large Instagram following with his parodies currently over 50, followers , and he told me that the tactic had also boosted sales of his real books of poetry, which he links to from his account and constantly peddles in posts. In April, he also published a satirical novel, Instapoet , about the genre that haunts his dreams.
When we spoke last year, there was something refreshing in his surliness, at least at first. Here was someone paying Instagram poetry the compliment of taking it seriously enough to hate it. For the most part, the literary establishment has ignored Instagram poets. Snide parodies of Kaur litter social media, and one has even been turned into an Amazon bestseller: Milk and Vine , a spoof volume in which all the poems are actually dialogue from Vine videos.
The contact email is the same one through which Young reached me. When my questions about his career grew more pointed, Young referred me to his new publisher, Bone Machine Books, with any further questions. The website for Bone Machine listed only Young and a fellow writer he frequently promotes online and in interviews, Scott Laudati, as authors. I was bewildered, and pressed him: Was Thom Young the real name of the primary writer? Who were the others? He seemed confused, saying they were working together on a book but were not a collective working under that name.
Its profile picture is a stock photograph. In the course of one interview, Young mentioned some of his book covers were designed by his brother Jeb, who owned a business called Tumbleweed TexStyles. I asked Yost about the fact that Young, like Atticus, used a pseudonym to shield his true identity. Did he think it was different for Young to do so? He seemed confounded. His credentials might be murky, but they carry a greater impression of authority than just another dude publishing his poetry on CreateSpace.
Besides, an aura of mystery, as Atticus has also discovered, can go a long way in selling yourself as an artistic genius. Young is certainly one thing: a troll.
leondumoulin.nl/language/have/9567-elliptic-curve.php He also appears to have experimented with other spoofs. A post shared by amala kaur amalakaur on Apr 4, at pm PDT. In an email, I asked Young about Amala Kaur, and whether he had created the account. He did not respond. If Young did create the Amala Kaur account, which does seem like a parody of Rupi, what with the shared name and meager Internet imprint, the undertones are less innocent than his general satire of Instagram poetry.
A lot of the social media poetry out there is written by white men, like Christopher Poindexter and Atticus, but Rupi Kaur fans have sometimes defended the poet by noting a particular fervor to the disdain for her work that they argue derives from sexism or racism.
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