Internet poetry is growing in popularity with an increasing number of poets gaining massive online followings and fame. These writers are tackling issues such as race, femininity, heartbreak, addiction, healing, and so much more in their work.
That said, the sheer volume of poets who have gained success online can make it hard to know where to start with your reading. We’ve compiled a list of the top five books by poets who gained success online and who continue to regularly post new and inspiring content on their socials.
1. Rupi Kaur – milk and honey (Simon and Schuster, 2014)
Image Courtesy of Goodreads
Rupi Kaur boasts a stunning 1.4 million Instagram followers, and her debut book milk and honey sold upwards of one million copies and spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list. Published by literary giants Simon and Schuster, the Punjab-born, Toronto-raised poet, performer, and illustrator captured hearts and minds around the world with her simple, moving prose. She shared her work on Tumblr, before moving to Instagram in 2014 when she began adding appealing line illustrations to offset her work.
She explores themes of femininity, heartbreak, abuse, and survival, using only lowercase letters and periods. On her website she states she only uses lowercase letters because Punjabi is written in Gurmukhi script, which uses only lower case lettering. She writes this way “in order to preserve the small details of my mother language… a world within a world. which is what i am as an immigrant. as a disporic punjabi sikh woman.”
Just this month, Kaur announced that her upcoming book will be entitled the sun and her flowers and will be published in October 2017. We’re on the edge of our seats!
2. Alicia Cooke – Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately (CreateSpace, 2017)
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Alicia Cooke’s 19,100 Instagram followers would agree that this poet and activist is one to watch. She has been acknowledged by Teen Vogue, CNN, and USAToday, and her self-published “poetry mixtape,” Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately, was a finalist in the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards. It is in the style of a 90s mixtape, with tracks instead of titles and sides instead of chapters (hint: side B features her own ‘blackout poetry’ remixes!).
Due to her extensive work on addiction, about which she regularly writes for the Huffington Post and other publications, 100% of the profits from her book go to Willow Tree Centre, a rehabilitation center in New Jersey. We’re so excited to see where her work takes her next!
3. Atticus – Love Her Wild (Simon and Schuster, 2017)
Image Courtesy of Barnes & Noble
With over 387,000 Instagram followers including the likes of Cara Delevigne and Karlie Kloss, and just yesterday endorsed by A-lister Emma Roberts on her own Instagram which boasts 10.9 million followers, Atticus’s star is rising. He appears in the photo on Roberts’ account obscuring his face with his trademark book mask, which, he told Teen Vogue, is “not only to remain anonymous, but also to encourage himself to write what he truly feels, and not just what he thinks he should feel.”
This quote has since appeared in the form of a poem entitled “Mask” on his Instagram. In the Amazon entry for his book, it states that he was dubbed this year by Galore magazine as “the world’s most tattooable poet,” thousands of fans have had his work tattooed and his short works of searing honesty have captured the hearts of thousands more. Love Her Wild was published this year by Simon and Schuster and we can’t wait to see where Atticus will go next!
4. Nayyirah Waheed – salt (CreateSpace, 2013)
Image Courtesy of Amazon
Not a whole lot is known about Nayyirah Waheed beyond her body of work, but what work it is! With two books under her belt, salt (2013) and nejma (2015), Waheed’s words have been acknowledged by everyone from Florence Welch to Khloe Kardashian to the participants of the Women’s March on Washington and center around issues of race and femininity.
Unable to find a publisher for salt despite her large following, she self-published her work, which is now studied in high schools, and has gleaned over 263,000 followers on Instagram. Business Daily Africa described Waheed as an “urban poet with near-sacred folk tales of our generation born from honesty.” We’re sure the only way is up for this talent.
5. Tyler Knott Gregson – All the Words Are Yours (Tarcher Perigee – Penguin Books, 2015)
Image Courtesy of Amazon
With 259,000 followers on Tumblr and 184,000 on Instagram, Tyler Knott Gregson’s first book Chasers of the Light became a national bestseller when it was published in 2014. He followed up the next year with our personal favorite, a collection of haikus about love called All the Words Are Yours. The book cemented Knott Gregson’s status as a ‘talented, soul-stirring writer,’ according to Entertainment Focus, and he has since come out with no less than three more: Love Notes (2016), North Pole Ninjas (2016), Be Bold, Be Brave (2017) and Be Wild, Be Brave (2017).
Is it too much to hope for another 2017 publication from this prolific poet? We’re not sure we can wait!
Featured Image Courtesy of The Odyssey Online