Is modern poetry really poetry? A discussion

EDITING ME FROM THE FUTURE: I’ve read this back and realised in some parts I sound like a right swat, lol please excuse that, I wrote this after studying for like eight hours so my brain was in ‘nerdy know it all mode’ but, somewhere, underneath that, is the regular sarcy gal that writes all of these posts.

DOUBLE SIDE NOTE: upon doing research, I have discovered that this crap is literally called ‘Instagram Poetry’… like that is an actual genre of literature… what has the world come to?

Let’s establish one thing before we begin: I am a nerd.

I love reading and analysing literature and I’ve kind of gotten a lot more into poetry recently, at first I read classic poetry, then moved on to more abstract poetry etc etc. Then I tried modern poetry.


By modern, I mean I read Milk and Honey, Pillow Thoughts and The Princess Saves Herself in this One.

And to get straight to my point, all the above are an insult to every good poet ever.

Whether or not I enjoyed the ‘poems’ is not part of this discussion (spoiler alert: I DID NOT IN ANY UNCERTAIN TERMS ENJOY THE POEMS) but this discussion is more focused on: is that really poetry?

I mean, come on, over half of the ‘poems’ in all of these collections were sentences, moody Instagram captions, angsty quotes that 12 year old kids write in their school books when things aren’t going their way. Don’t believe me? Please allow me to show you things that were, no joke, genuinely published and classed as poetry:

I am in awe of the way you walk, and yet you walk right past me.

That’s it. That is literally an entire poem, there is nothing in there with any substance, it is a single sentence, with vocabulary that is common by the age of like five and I am genuinely in awe that this is published in a collection of poetry, not just that, but IS A PART OF A POETRY COLLECTION WITH A HIGHER RATING ON GOODREADS THAN ROMEO AND JULIET, A PLAY WITH SOME OF THE MOST FAMOUS AND BEAUTIFUL POETRY IN THE WORLD.

Now, I understand that not all the poems in these collections are so short (most of them are), so lets look at one with a bit more to it than… a line

i know it’s hard

believe me

i know it feels like tomorrow will never come

and today will be the most difficult day to get through

but i swear you will get through

the hurt will pass

as it always does

if you give it time and

let it so let it



like a broken promise

let it go

Okay, I can acknowledge the fact that there is a message here and it could’ve really helped out someone reading this that needed it, and so I will not completely dismiss it as an okay bit of writing, but an amazing poem? Come on. 

First of all, the complete lack of conformity to the basic rules of English grammar is ridiculous, especially considering there is no real deeper meaning to it that could be representative of a wider idea (unless the poet is very literally letting go of her troubles, with those troubles being the ability to follow the rules of grammar), and also, this is once again, an Instagram quote, it is in no way poetry, it tells nothing, shows nothing, displays no signs of being a poem and is a ridiculous excuse for one.

Another thing with Milk and Honey, the whole thing was just cringe, it was mostly two or three line poems, the only poems with any significant linguistic features were ones about honey pots and it was pretty much gross: to read, to think about, to reference as poetry, it was all just awful.

The fact that most of these poems are straight from a teenagers blog (okay, ironic for me to mock a teenager’s blog considering I’m a teen… and this is my blog, but you get my drift) but are put in the same categories as poems from soldiers that fought in wars, poems from Shakespeare, who shaped so much of literature today, poems from all types of people who poured themselves into making a poem, hid meanings in between their lines to make a story, is utterly ridiculous, like half of these poems don’t have the lines required to put anything in between them, let alone shape an entire story.

Your eyes are stars

I want to be in that galaxy

That wasn’t a poem from any of these books, I made it up in what I timed to be twelve seconds, and I think it fits right in with the poems in these books if I do say so myself.

The point I’m trying to get at is that not much goes in to these poems, I’m not saying that there is nothing at all good about them, I’m simply questioning whether or not these things can really be classed as poetry, especially when comparing them to some of the truly amazing poems that have been written in the past that are true examples of skilful and talented writing.

The talent that comes with being a writer is lost in these examples of poetry, and it’s sad to see how little substance is needed to evoke such a high amount of success, i think my overall complaint here is the fact that all the skills that come with being a writer are dismissed and replaced with utter BS that is easily written by anyone under the sun, rather than talent that is unique to an individual and requires a set amount of skill… and, you know, basic education.


OKAY, so, what do you think? Do you read these types of poetry? if you do please let me know why, and do you think these poems are truly poems, or more a collection of one line motivation? Thank you so much for reading and I shall speak to you all soon ❤

2 thoughts on “Is modern poetry really poetry? A discussion

  1. 🤣 I love your poem. It really does fit right in. Seriously though, I do enjoy short poetry such as haiku and tanka, but there is an ART to those forms that isn’t just matching some syllable count (that isn’t even true to the spirit of the poems in their original language). My haiku don’t conform to syllables. I try to conform to the spirit of the form, exploring nature, the use of seasonal and cutting words. It’s not so easy to write a great one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. why thank you, i’m honestly considering publishing my own, these poets seem to get pretty damn successful from it. I totally agree with you, my problem isn’t that they are short, it’s that there’s no substance, art, form or technique to any of them and yet they are still praised as poetry and unlike with.. actual poems? they are far from difficult to write (as i displayed lol)

      Liked by 1 person

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