by Sheridan Cyr
Poetry is not dead! Creative writing is still holding on tightly while the rest of the world leans toward math and sciences, it has enlisted the internet as one of its main components in its fight to survive.
The New York Times’ recent article, “Web Poet’s Society: New Breed Succeeds in Taking Verse Viral,” Tyler Knott Gregson, 34, is described as an ex-freelance copywriter. He is accustomed to churning out “stories” including descriptions of exercise equipment, hair products and medical imaging devices.
Gregson, blond, tattooed poet from Montana, took the stage at a Manhattan bookstore a couple weeks ago and beamed at the crowd that had come to celebrate his new haiku collection. A far cry from his late occupation, Gregson has become the man of the hour and a best-selling celebrity poet.
With 560,000 Instagram and Tumblr followers, Gregson belongs to a new generation of “young, digitally astute poets whose loyal online followings have helped catapult them onto the best-seller lists, where poetry books are scarce,” stated the article.
These writers are amateur poets. They are not winning any literary awards. Many have never taken graduate writing classes. They survive purely from personal experience, harsh confessionals and conclusions to big ideas in their writing. It is a true trial-and-error experience.
With the help of personalized social media accounts, Gregson and others are reaching hundreds of thousands of readers, attracting the attention of literary agents, editors and publishers. They are changing the world’s perception of poetry and creative writing.
The article wrote, “The rapid rise of Instapoets probably will not shake up the literary establishment, and their writing is unlikely to impress literary critics or purists who might sneer at conflating clicks with artistic quality. But they could reshape the lingering perception of poetry as a creative medium in decline.”
Gregson’s first book of poetry, “Chasers of the Light,” became a national best seller and sold 120,000 copies, outselling Louise Gluck’s collection “Faithful and Virtuous Night,” which won the National Book Award for poetry last year and sold about 20,000 copies.
This is incredible news. Social media can be a brain-drainer but undeniably great things can sprout with little online presence. One poem has the ability to reach millions of people if promoted correctly.
If you have a passion, explore it through social media. Promote your own ideas. Add to what has been offered already and make connections with others in the field. You already have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, use them in a way that will benefit you. You never know what may come of it.