24 January 2018 Reading Trends

Poetry in the Modern World

Social media has revolutionised countless human activities and is now a fundamental way for people to interact, capture and share memories. What’s interesting is looking at how social media can help continue legacy forms of art and culture. In this blog, we take a look at how poetry is brought to life in a modern world.


Turning Back the Clock

Poetry as an art form predates literacy. Let that sink in. Before we had the ability to formalise language into something that could be recorded, learnt and taught, we were weaving words into hymns, chants and verbal art.

One of the most famous poets of all time, William Shakespeare, known worldwide for his remarkable ability to tell stories through rhyme and verse, is still quoted on a daily basis – centuries after his death.

As the pace of our day-to-day lives has sped up, so too has language. The way we speak, read, write and communicate have all been condensed.


BTT (Back to Topic)

New words are abbreviated every day. The subject of a sentence can now be understood by familiar sequences of letters. Example: Please feel free to get in touch if you need more information > hit me up > hmu. Ah, now how’s that for 21st century elegance?

Consequently, those lovely, long and, at times, perplexing lines from good ol’ Bill, can no longer be easily absorbed and understood – putting poetry firmly in the ‘too hard’ basket for the majority.

That said, the last few years have seen a stark resurgence in the popularity of poetry, as it has been transformed, pared back and made more accessible and understandable to millennials.


Merging of the Online and Offline Worlds

Rupi Kaur is now a household name. Author of the wildly popular Milk and Honey and owner of an Instagram account with nearly 2 million followers, Rupi has a global following of men and women alike, who find the Canadian poet’s work equally moving and refreshing.    

Other poets making a name for themselves over social media include Michael E. Reid, Amanda Torroni, Christopher Poindexter, and Tyler Kent White. These writers have had success adapting an ancient art form for a new population of readers, and, in the process, reawakened the populations’ love for poetry.

In turn, this has reignited people’s love for classical poets, who are now getting some much-deserved attention from a new generation.

Nearly 750 years after his death, Rumi, the 13th-century Persian Sunni Muslim poet, has achieved the unlikely feat of being the best-selling poet in the USA. His poems, translated by Coleman Barks, are favourites of Madonna, Tilda Swinton, Beyonce & Jay-Z and Chris Martin no less!

Recently printed in a beautiful new hardback edition by London-based publishers The Folio Society, Rumi’s poems of joy and love are now delighting a whole new breed of poetry enthusiasts.

So there is no better time than now to grab some poetry, take five and enjoy!

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