Did Our Generation Kill Poetry?

Thursday, February 04

By Maryam Uddin

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Sugar is sweet

And so are you.


But a face like yours,

Belongs in the zoo.


That was my go-to poem in elementary school no matter the occasion, and the changing the last line to something more expressive convinced me that I was the next Shakespeare. But as I grew older (and out of that phase), I was introduced to more classic poets. This included re-owned poets like Edgar Allan Poe and Langston Hughes, and pretty much all of us have read their work at one point or another. They're words are passionate, figurative, and are like riddles waiting to be solved by poetry lovers everywhere. 

But even if you’re not a poetry lover, you may have wondered, Who are the classic poets of our era?

Does the death of classic poets necessarily mean the death of poetry? No, that question leads us to the wrong direction. Our concept of poetry is dead; not the whole genre itself. When we connect the word poetry to Shakespeare, that's where we're mistaken. Poetry is constantly evolving and it's not the same as it had been when Shakespeare decided to write Romeo and Juliet.

Postmodern poetry has tackled various issues that many are afraid to talk about. It has given many people a creative voice, becoming a passionate outlet for many. Modern poetry has introduced people to various types of poetry, encouraging people to join the growing poetry community. And we can't forget that poetry is now at our fingertips (like, literally) thanks to social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

Poetry that directly addresses powerful themes of feminism and poetry that is not afraid to discuss mental illnesses has been rapidly growing in popularity, and it’s becoming an expressive voice for many.

Most of us have heard of Rupi Kaur and her well-known poetry collection, Milk and Honey. What many people don't know is that Canadian poet Rupi Kaur started her self-publishing journey on Tumblr, and then switched to Instagram later on. She's an inspirational role model for women, and uses her audience on social media platforms to share her heart-touching, short poems. Her poems beautifully capture the essence of important issues, like domestic violence, sexual harassment, the struggles of self-love, hearbreak, and so on. 

Her work has inspired many people to adress serious topics through the art of poetry. It doesn't only give poets a voice, but the reader  as well since it's much more relatable. It's wonderful seeing people on social media platforms, like Instagram and Twitter, speaking out about matters like BLM and discussing mental health through the genre. Spreading awareness about issues using poetry is not only effective, but gives it a dramatic touch that calls for attention.

Postmodern poetry is far from what we were taught as children. Moving away from the classic rhyme patterns and the emphasis on iambic meters, we can conclude that modern poetry is a complete contrast to traditional poetry.

Haikus. Limericks. Sonnets. Acrostic poems. These are just to name a few.

For the longest time, I believed that rhyme patterns were an absolutely important part of poetry and the the key to write an actually good poem. Along with that, traditional potry has always had a huge emphasis on the iambic meter. Postmodern poetry says otherwise, and is introducing us to contemporary poetry; a poetry style including a variation of the standard rhyme patterns and an inconsistent iambic meter.

Now, a lot of English teachers I know wouldn't say that contemporary poetry is the best form of poetry (and I used to agree for the sake of my grades), but present day poets are proving those English teachers wrong (sorry, Ms. Smith). Mackenzie Cambell, modern day poet, delivers to us a poetry book called 2am Thoughts that's filled with this intresting and unique poetry style.

Here's an example of her poetry:

In the war of love,

the battle between

emotion and logic

is the most brutal.

Well-excuted, her poems are an excellent example of how postmodern poetry is beautiful, simple, yet still conveys a heart-touching message. Modern poetry usually doesn't require us to break down the meaning, and honestly, it's changing the world of literature.

Insta-poets (poets on Instagram) are rising in popularity and are expressing themselves using this new style of poetry. However, that's not the only amazing thing about these poets who share their poetry on trendy social media platforms.

With COVID becoming a big part of our lifestyle, a lot of us have adapted to the online world for things like education and work. No one really goes to the library anymore no matter how big of a bookworm they are (yes, I'm calling myself out). So when poets are sharing their work on apps like Instagram and Twitter, they're introducing contemporary poetry to a wide range of people. I'm glad that poetry is becoming more convenient, and encouraging more poeple to read poetry.

Older generations on the other hand are not such a fan of postmodern poetry. They say it's meaningless, very bland, and that it's ruining people's concept of what poetry actually is. 

Of course, we cant forget that there are a lot of people who have fallen in love with postmodern poetry because they think it's more dramatic and passionate.

So the big question is, who's right?

Well, I believe that the poetry genre is just like art; it's subjective. The way you may see it will almost always differ with someone else's perspective. It's crazy how the same words can have a million different interpretations.

But anyways,

Poetry is not dead, and never will be.

It's just evolving, and we're all here for it.


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