Poetry on social media has, of course, in recent years laid siege to the age-old bastions of literature with their phenomenal popularity, says the author.
Uttaran Das Gupta, Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean, Jindal School of Journalism and Communication, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana.
In a poem titled ‘Facebook, Another View’, Mumbai-based poet Sanjeev Sethi describes the social media platform that has recently undergone a makeover: “It is a shelf for self-adverts drafted by dilettantes.”
This poem is included in Hesitancies (New Delhi and Calcutta: Classix, 2021) — Sethi’s fifth book. Most of the poems in Hesitancies and Bleb (Scotland: Hybriddreich, 2021) would easily fit into the limited space for status messages — described by Sethi as “nook to posit clever phrases” — on social media. They would also get many likes and shares.
Bleb has 31 very short poems, mostly in prose or free verse. The sub-title of the book calls them “wee poems”. The title poem reads:
Dialectics and dogmas: fountainhead of misguided miseries in mind, even as skin craves skin, you and I, next to each other empty of evanescent safeguards. The arrogance of touch nudges me to notice my littleness, smallness of search.
The other poems in the book – a few of them previously published in international literary journals like Berfrois, 3: AM Magazine, and London Grip – tumble one after other in a similar vein. They are as easy to scroll through as posts on Instagram.
Hesitancies is not too different, except that it has more poems (78) and they are sometimes a little longer. These are not divided into thematic sections, nor is a chronology provided to tell the reader why they are all together in a book.
New lease of life for poetry
Poetry on social media has, of course, in recent years laid siege to the age-old bastions of literature with their phenomenal popularity. Rupi Kaur, Amanda Lovelace, Najwa Zebian and Lang Leav are some of the globally known poets who first found fame on Instagram. There are millions of others who are moulding their languages and formats to make them consumable on social media.
Published in: The Wire
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