My poetry practice was starting to get a bit tired. Not everything about it, but I had some poems which I liked but which weren’t finding homes – so I decided to build them new ones. And then I remembered that I also had an old home for poetry, sitting around somewhere on the internet like a really useful spoon forgotten at the back of a cupboard, and decided I should renovate it.
So let me introduce you to two places I am now sharing poems. One is my Instagram, @rhiannonbookgeek. Short poems, especially ones which can be made into images using Canva or a similar service, can be very at home on the image-drive social media site. (This wasn’t my idea – check out hashtags like #poetrycommunity and #poemsofinstagram for many other people doing similar things.) I’ve been enjoying making the images, as well as sharing the poems. I’m not an amazing graphic designer, but choosing a simple layout and picking a photograph is fun and it makes me consider my writing in different ways. At the moment, I’m only posting poems which already existed – some of them first drafted before I’d ever heard of Instagram – but it will be interesting to see whether in the future, what I write is changed by imagining it in this form before it’s finished.
The other is my poetry blog, Unprogrammed Poetry. I first used this back in 2012, and I posted there regularly for a while – but then it faded, for all sorts of reasons. I’m now sharing there everything I post to Instagram, with both the image and a plain HTML version in the hopes that this will improve the accessibility. (I try to add an alt text to my Instagram posts for screen reader users, but this doesn’t always work well with poetry.) I might also post some longer poems there, with or without images.
A while ago, trying to work out where to submit what to see whether I could get things published, I wrote a list of reasons for writing different kinds of work. For poetry, I wrote that my reasons for writing are to be heard, to express myself and be recognised, and to form community. I’ve been pleased to publish in some formal spaces, and to have the support of editors – you can find a list of places I’ve published on my poetry page. But I know there’s also a lot of community to be formed online, and benefits to sharing in a more immediate way. I hope you find the poems rich and thought-provoking. Some of them might even be enjoyable.