The following is in response to The Princess Saves Herself in This One and The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by American poet Amanda Lovelace.
Poetry can be difficult to appreciate.
It is not for everyone. If you enjoy this flavor of written word, you might have forced it on a love one to gauge their reaction. Not because you want to make them feel odd about not understanding it, but because you want them to experience the beauty of the words the way that you have. You march up to this person that you think highly of, crack open the book of poetry with pride and point them to the page. They read the lines, even take a few moments to digest them, but ultimately look back up at you with a disinterested glare. Adam Kirsh of the Atlantic writes that this transaction can leave readers feeling “unprestigious” and “unremunerative.”
What Lovelace’s poetry does in these two books that alleviates some of the unknown that readers find themselves lost and unhappy with in poetry is that it roots the reader to something concrete that they are likely more familiar with. Disney? Lovelace takes some of the most recognized female figures from our childhoods (Cinderella, Maleficent) and retells their stories in modern ways. You might not take away the feeling of being incomplete and unchallenged from Bukowksi’s poems about prostitutes and drinking, but you’ll probably feel Lovelace’s pain from the loss of her mother about princesses and witches. In short, they’re relatable.
Instagram has done a thing…
Searching for information on Lovelace, I discovered that her poetry can be categorized as “Instapoetry.” Apparently, Instagram has birthed a new brand of poetry. These compositions are sometimes referred to as “literary selfies.” What does this all mean? Simply put, poets use Instagram and other platforms to reach a greater audience and find notoriety. Poetry published online is typically more simplistic in style and form and though more readers “get” this poetry, some readers don’t like it. There is a divide of sorts in the community, one side of which argues that Instagram-poetry is killing poetry and not reviving it.
My answer to this divide goes as follows: Poetry gets a bad rap, glued to this stigma that it can only be enjoyed with the overly intellectual. Maybe you like Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman or maybe you prefer Amanda Lovelace and Rupi Kaur. Maybe you’re like me and you can appreciate both. However, if this type of poetry gets more people excited about the written word, then there is no reason to dismiss it.