Let’s Talk Micropoetry – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

What is micropoetry?

Micropoetry is a genre of poetic verse which is characterized by its extreme brevity. In other words, a micropoem is a short poem.” (Quote pulled from Micropoetry.) Think modern day poets like Rupi Kaur, Amanda Lovelace, and R.H. Sin who all write some form of micropoetry or instapoetry.

The Good:

I find it very difficult to enjoy micropoetry, especially if it’s an entire book, but there are some banging micropoems out there. But what makes them bangers?

  1. They pack a punch. You have a few lines to say whatever it is you want to and it’s really important to make those lines count. If you’re able to convey a lifelong heartbreak in five sentences and actually make me want to cry, well then hats off to you! I find that the micropoems that really resonate with me, are the ones I’m constantly thinking about and actually wanting to do an after piece to them.
  2. They’re unique. With longer forms of poetry, you get a chance to experiment with the style and formats of the pieces. You can shape the poem, make it run off the page, get it to stand out off the page and catch eyes. With micropoems, it’s alot more difficult to do, as they all end up looking the same. So you have to be constantly thinking, what would make my piece unique? Choose descriptive words to paint your poem, words that make noise. Write a line that pulls you in and doesn’t let you out of its grip.
  3. The message. Often times when I’m reading a book of micropoems, it feels like I’m reading the same thing over and over again just with different words, which goes back to the latter point, making them unique. Other times, it feels like the message isn’t even there, it’s just a string of words with an enter and a tab and no meaning. If you can make your message clear, you’ll probably have a better chance at people falling in love with it. This isn’t to say abstract pieces aren’t good, but that in a micropoem, it’s best to not be as vague in such a short piece.

The Bad:

Alot of the points made above will again be examples in the bad, because admittedly, even if you’ve got some of the good, your piece can still fall flat.

  1. Half thoughts. Alot of micropoems come off as half thoughts and would work better as a longer piece. They could do well if expanded upon and made into a full cohesive thought. Give them more and make them great!
  2. Repetition. Like I mentioned above in The Good, sometimes when I’m reading a book, say The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace, it reads like every poem is the same. There isn’t much character between the micropoems and they tend to say the same thing, just a little differently. Granted, the collection has a theme that is followed quite closely, I think the theme could still be achieved when tackled loosely too.
  3. They’re eh. The micropoems feel eh. They leave you feelings nothing, they lack a unique style, they don’t have much at all, if any, poetic language to them. They just feel empty, and as a result, leave me feeling empty too.

The Ugly:

I don’t consider instapoetry to be actually poetry, as it’s usually just a single sentence or very short quote. I would say that instapoetry still would be under the umbrella term of micropoetry, though, which is why I’m going to talk about it.

Instapoetry serves its purpose: being a short piece that can be read quickly and then scrolled past. I wouldn’t have such a problem with it if it were to actually be poetry, not quotes and half sentences.

My issue is that instapoetry became so popular that all of our modern poetry that tops on the NY Times Best Sellers list has become filled with the junk. An entire book with 200 pages, has one to three sentences on the entire page. That is not poetry.

I understand art is subjective, but to me, instapoetry becoming popular sort of reformed what poetry was seen as. Longer pieces that have more voice and creativity don’t get nearly as much attention and love, and they do certainly deserve it.

Everything above is my opinion and not meant to be say all. I’d love to hear your opinions on micropoetry in the comments!

Published by Robin

Poetry author from Pennsylvania

2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Micropoetry – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  1. You make a lot of great points, Robin! I love a strong micropoem, the kind where your jaw drops at the emotion woven into just few sentences. There’s nothing quite like a poem that makes you question everything and I think it takes a special skill set to be able to write concisely too. You’re onto something there with too many micropoems being “eh” because I find they aren’t really poems, more just observations or reminders I suppose. There’s a fine line between good and bad here for sure! Great article!

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