Simple steps to becoming an Instapoet


Illustration by Elie Flanagan

Elise Sanders, Kazoo Prodigy

Have you ever read a poem on Instagram by a contemporary poet you’d never heard of? And yet, when you go to their profile, you find out they have a few hundred thousand — maybe even millions — of followers and a book deal or two. Have you ever thought, “Damn, I wish I could be that successful with such a small amount of work?” Well, look no further! With my five easy steps, you’ll go from an unpublished loser to signing books at a midwestern Barnes & Noble!

  1. Remember the Three No-No’s!

When you’re getting started, you need to keep in mind the three things you should never, under any circumstance, do:

  • Do not use capital letters!
  • Do not use any other punctuation except periods.
  • Do not make efforts to develop your unique voice! That’s not marketable!

2. Content

Now, you gotta have something to write about. Instapoems have an already approved list of topics and tropes, which market research shows to be the most successful among audiences. Therefore, only write about:

  • Unrequited love
  • Body positivity
  • Romanticized alcohol abuse
  • Sex
  • Shitty ex-boyfriends
  • Half-baked “woke” statements

3. Presentation

Minimalism is key. Place either one short stanza or a giant, uninterrupted block of text on a white background. You can use stock images of flowers, the moon or girls on the beach. You can even include your own shitty drawings!

4. When in doubt, just do whatever Rupi Kaur is doing

Rupi Kaur is a famous example of an Instapoet who made it big. You wanna be successful like her, right? So, if you aren’t doing so well, just read one of her latest poems, rehash it, include more half-baked metaphors about stardust and you got it! Just remember, don’t be yourself. That doesn’t sell.