Instapoetry is an internet phenomenon consisting of short poems that are distributed through social media rather than through traditional means. There is no consistent form except for the short direct lines, lack of capitalisation, and punctuation. It has faced both cult-like support and harsh criticism but one thing is clear: Instapoetry is incredibly popular. Rupi Kaur, a self-published Instapoet, sold more than 3 million copies of her collection 'milk and honey' and it remained for 150 weeks on the New York Times' bestseller list.

Support for Instapoets come from those who realise how poetry had been limited in its influence by a feeling that it belongs in the realm of academia, perhaps due to the failings of traditional education. Many of these poems deal in current issues such as immigration, domestic violence, sexual assault, love, culture, feminism, gun violence, war, racism, LGBTQ and other social justice topics. In a time of cultural and social upheaval, Andre Breedt explains that "poetry is resonating with people who are looking for understanding. It is a really good way to explore complex, difficult emotions and uncertainty." Instapoetry is accessible and relatable, perfect for the rapid engagement that social media platforms demand. Charly Cox, a British poet whose success originated from these apps, is branded "social media's answer to Carol Ann Duffy". Certainly, some argue that these short poems resemble the Roman forms of epigrammatic pieces which tend to be more direct.

However, not all are supportive of this new movement. Academics have critiqued the lack of thought and technical development that has gone into these pieces, picking up notably, that there is a lack of visual imagery, and when there is, it tends to be natural and cliched, picking on things that are aesthetically pleasing and easily romanticised. Thom Young, a poet and high school teacher, points out that "young people are interested in fidget-spinner poetry" and poetry that doesn't cause "a lot of critical thinking". As a result, he runs an Instagram page dedicated to satirising these poets, to show how little effort it takes to become popular.

Instapoets also tend to have little knowledge of poetry. ‘I didn’t know a thing, I just knew how to feel’, Cox writes, as a prelude to her collection. However, defenders argue that this is its point. It prizes innocence over knowledge, which is why Atticus (a Canadian Instapoet) argues that academics have struggled to access it. They also describe it as a different art form where traiditonal rules cannot be applied. They have been compared to the next generation of Beats, a reincarnation of the Bloomsbury Group, or new Sylvia Plaths, misunderstood artists in their generation.

Making a poem accessible does not necessarily inhibit it from being complex, which some traditional poets have succeeded in doing so, such as Simon Armitage and Carol Ann Duffy. The aims to tackle difficult topics through poetry is admirable and should certainly be encouraged, though the lack of knowledge about form and techniques means it is difficult for it embed meaning beneath surface level.