The Rise Of The Insta Poet: 5 Poetry Books You’re Going To Fall In Love With

If you haven't picked up a poetry book since Leaving Cert English, Denise Curtin shares her top tips and picks on where to begin (again!)


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The world of poetry has changed a lot in the last decade. In school you might remember poetry being tedious and hard to decipher. Although beautiful, it required patience, analysis and more often than not, it was fed to us as part of a curriculum rather than being something we connected with organically. But social media is turning the art form into an industry and by doing so, it’s not only giving rise to Insta poets, but it’s helping us to find a newfound love for modern poetry.

Nowadays, similar to everything we consume as millennials, poetry is instant, easy to digest and relevant to the world we live in, the emotions we share and the support we long for. Unlike traditionally long verses, modern poetry is short and simple, less like a marathon and more like a sprint. Many people have described this new wave of poetry as being like nuggets of therapy for them, with each poem touching on topics that feel tailor-made.

At 28 years of age, Rupi Kaur was one of the first people to revolutionise and give a platform to the Instagram poet. Now a best-selling author with her first collection, milk & honey selling over 3.5 million copies worldwide. Rupi is proof that poetry doesn’t have to end once school does, and the demand for her poetry and love from a younger audience just goes to show that the ability to love it is there, it just needs to be on our terms.


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Now, best-selling poets like Lang Leav, Atticus and Mark Anthony have garnered massive online fanbases for their simplistic poems about love, race, acceptance, loss, beauty and culture, helping us to feel validated and seen with a mere three or four lines. It triggers an immediate emotional response and therefore, it’s why we’re seeing it’s surge in popularity in recent years. Poetry is a form of self-care.

In the past year many celebrities have also turned to poetry, releasing their debut collections. In September 2020, Riverdale star Lili Reinhart released her first poetry book, Swimming Lessons. A book that consists of over 100 short poems summing up her feelings, thoughts and challenges, Lili previously told Vogue in an interview that the book she wrote was inspired by the poetry she started reading as a teenager on Tumblr. ‘These beautiful, little, even sentences just struck me, and were so beautiful and romantic. That’s the poetry that I can relate to. I don’t relate to poetry where I need a dictionary,’ the 24-year-old told the publication.


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Following in Lili’s footsteps, singer Halsey surprised fans by unveiling her first poetry book “I Would Leave Me If I Could” just before Christmas last year. A book consisting of a slew of personal insights, ranging from her thoughts on sex to struggles with bipolar disorder, Halsey joined the long list of celebrities now writing poetry and speaking out about its powers.

Last year, in the height of lockdown 1.0, I found myself turning to poetry when I wanted to read but my mind wasn’t capable to chew through a book. Worry and stress about what was going on in the world had my attention span in captivity, but I found modern poetry to be manageable, thanks to its length and accessibility. Starting off I scrolled through a wreath of poems on Instagram, finding poets I could resonate with and then, finding recommendations based on styles similar to theirs. From there, I was then able to amass a pretty solid collection of poetry books, all coming from Insta poets.

And now, as one of the fastest-growing categories in book publishing, it’s evident that poetry is heading nowhere but up. It’s beginning to enter charts, filter to the front of book stores and sit on top of our feeds. It’s resurgence is thanks to us, but it’s popularity shows that we need it just as much as it needs us.

Denise’s top 5 poetry picks! 

September Love  –  Lang Leav 

This is the latest book from award-winning author Lang Leav. Think beautiful short poems and a trial of thoughts on  everything from love to heartbreak and self-empowerment. This book is testament to why Lang Leav is one of the best in the biz!

Swimming Lessons – Lili Reinhart

The first collection of poetry from Riverdale star Lili Reinhart, Lili’s relatable yet deeply intimate poetry reflects challenges faced when growing up, suffering heartbreak, and balancing life in the spotlight.

Home Body – Rupi Kaur

Home Body debuted as a number #1 New York Times bestseller earlier this year and so, it’s no surprise as to why Rupi Kaur is the internet’s favourite poet. Her beautiful poetry and illustrations are forever touching people and it’s no different with this third book.

Soulmates – Mark Anthony

Another major Instagram success, Mark Anthony’s popularity stems from his motivational and romantic poetry. Unlike many poets of his kind, Mark’s positive words focus on things like the beauty of love, success and growing old.

Poems To Fix A F**ked Up World – by various poets

This is a little book I love to pick up every now and again, plus well titled for the era we live in. This poetry book is full of gems and words of wisdom, featuring short and sharp poetry to help you along your way.


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