Events Calendar

Instapoetics, Poetic Expression and Screen-Capitalism

Wednesday, February 28, 2024
12:00 pm - 1:20 pm
FIMS and Nursing Building (FNB)
Room: 4130 (or Zoom)
Photo of Warren Steele wearing a grey cardigan and sitting on a yellow bench.

Presented by Assistant Professor Warren Steele and PhD in Media Studies candidate Zak Bronson, both of Western University.

Attend in-person: FNB 4130
Attend online: Register for Zoom

Abstract: Instapoetry is a mode of online poetic expression that combines verse and visual imagery, often in the form of hand-drawn pictures or moody black and white photographs. It also tends to be short, inspirational, and relatable to optimize shareability on Instagram. Some Instapoets have parlayed their work into viable careers. Others, like Rupi Kaur for example, have achieved pop stardom.

Given the dearth of academic discussion on Instapoetry at present, especially in media studies, our talk sets out to define Instapoetry in the context of contemporary social media usage. And to clarify what Instapoets do to better understand Instapoetry’s significance as the most consequential mode of poetic expression today. After all, as Instapoetry developed in accordance with Instagram, Instapoets fostered an online poetics indivisible from self-branding—enabling forms of subjectivity, and empathetic identification, indicative of deeper transformations in the story of capitalism and the history of communication.

To understand what is happening and why, we ask: what is Instapoetry? what does it do? and what do Instapoets think Instapoetry is for when compared to poets in the age of print and their conception of poetry? In addition, we ask how Instapoems are put together to make a good Instapoetical work and investigate the number and nature of Instapoetry’s component parts, as well as other questions arising in the same area of inquiry.

Presented as part of the FIMS Seminar Series 2023/2024.

Faculty of Information and Media Studies
karen Kueneman

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