At the beginning of lockdown the poems I had written years ago were still firmly locked away in obscurity and I wasn’t really interested in reading or listening to any poetry.
That has all changed now and in the course of lockdown I’ve not only started writing and sharing poetry but I’ve also been wanting to fill my mind with other people’s poetry and it’s taken me a while to find my way through to what I enjoyed and found interesting.
I’d like to share some of the things that have helped me track down poets and particularly Christian poets online.
Instagram is a fantastic place to find poets and poetry.
Online spoken word events
These are great places for you to get a feel for what sort of poetry you like if you don’t know already and to see the interaction between the poet and online audience.
If you liked any or all of the poets who performed in the event you can then follow them on social media and find more of their work online.
I would say this is how I found the majority of the poets whose work I now enjoy. And following those poets then led me to others.
For a list of some of the poets that I follow on social media that might give you some ideas, have a look at my post here.
Many spoken word events are designed to be accessible and organisers will record each event so you’ll be able to find it on their IGTV channel.
And don’t forget that many of the people who are at the event but not performing are interested in poetry and probably also write, so if the audience volunteer their social media handles you can always follow them too.
For some more ideas about sharing your own poetry in an online spoken word event, you can read my post about this here.
The writing and poetry communities really do function as communities, perhaps because writing can be very vulnerable and isolating so you quickly realise how important it is to receive encouragement and perhaps begin to be more intentional about encouraging others.
Poets tend to be very supportive in sharing other poets’ writing, and this works particularly well on the stories function on Instagram, where you can share posts and IGTV that you have been impacted by.
So if you like a poet’s style, keep an eye on their stories, as you will often find many more poets in this way who you wouldn’t have come across otherwise.
One of the wonders of Instagram is the hashtag function. I was very late to the game with Instagram, Twitter and hashtags but they can be a very useful way of finding poetry and of sharing your own poetry with other people who like poetry.
#spokenword currently has 2.7 million posts so you might want to narrow it down a bit more. #spokenworduk has over 500 posts but that might be a much more manageable place to start (or country/location of your choice). Or #christianspokenword (1000+ posts).
That was just for spoken word poetry, #poetry brings up 51.4 million posts, but #lovepoetry already drops to 1.1m, #naturepoetry is 65.3K, #rhymingpoetry is 21.9K.
If these sorts of numbers seem overwhelming, and particularly because Instagram is a place when anyone can share anything and lots of it is inspirational quotes and phrases rather than poetry, it’s also worth checking out the hashtags mentioned in this excellent article, which are also useful when it comes to sharing poetry you have written.
Poetry shared on Twitter can tend towards the academic, whereas Instapoetry is considered more accessible.
There are lots of poetry journals, literary magazines and ezines on Twitter which cover a whole range of subjects, themes and styles. You can often get an idea for the feel of the magazine or subject matter and current theme from the description on Twitter before you visit the website.
#poetry and #amwritingpoetry are catch-all hashtags to search on Twitter.
Micropoetry works very well on Twitter due to the character limit within a single tweet, so if you like micropoetry (haiku, tanka, vss – very short story, 6 word poems etc) then searching using these hashtags will bring up lots of poems to enjoy and poets to follow.
I have only listened to a few podcast episodes about poetry but this is another good way to find poets you’ve not encountered before. I listen to The Habit Podcast which is more generally about writing, although I’ve also come across poets I’d not previously heard of. God’s Ink runs a podcast called The Words I Never Said which features live performances, interviews, writing and performance tips, and community answers to questions asked on @theinkmagazine Instagram channel.
Have you found any new poetry or poets by doing something similar? What ways have you found new poetry or writing that interests you?