These Poets Of Colour Are Changing The Literary Scene One Instagram At A Time

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The landscape of poetry is changing. And fast. Thanks to the internet and social media, this ancient literary art form is escaping the confines of anthologies and books, and beginning to reach a wider, more varied audience who may never have otherwise considered reading poems. But who are the poets of colour on Instagram that you should be following? I've narrowed it down to five of the very best wordsmiths out there.

Getting work published is no mean feat, and if you aren't a dead white man, gaining mainstream popularity in poetry can be extremely challenging. However, over the past few years, online spaces have made it easier than ever for writers from all walks of life to get their work picked up by large publishing houses. The trend of "instapoetry" and self-publishing is everywhere, with poets like Rupi Kaur reaching over 3.6 million followers on Instagram.

Even The National Poetry Library at London's prestigious Southbank Centre has recognised the popularity of poetry on Instagram. Last January, they put our a call for poets and Instagrammers to share their work by contributing to the hashtag #instapoetrylib.

So, if you're looking for thought provoking, liberating, and touching poetry to read on your commute or in the bath, then these are the poets you need to follow. ASAP.


Travis Alabanza

Travis Alabanza is a London-based poet, performer, and writer who has most recently wrote and starred in the critically-acclaimed one person theatre show Burgerz.

Travis' debut poetry book, Before I step outside (you love me), is a collection of words, poems, and images written in public and on public transport. The book, which was published in 2017, explores what it's like being a black, femme, non-binary artist in the UK.

Although Travis isn't an instapoet per se, snippets of their published work and poetry can be found on their Instagram.


Nayyirah Waheed

Nayyirah Waheed's words are both healing, reflective, and wholly encouraging. Often written in a few short but powerful words, they are perfect for daily reading. Waheed has also published two books, Salt in 2013 and Nejma in 2015.


Cleo Wade

Cleo Wade is an artist, poet, and activist, and author of Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life. Born in New Orleans and residing in New York, her optimistic poems are written in her signature font and are ideal reads if you need a political pick-me-up. Wade also has some famous fans including Reese Witherspoon and Solange Knowles.


Nikita Gill

If you're looking for empowering words about self-care and self-acceptance, then Nikita Gills words might resonate with you.

Speaking to the Bookseller, on why instapoets are so popular, Gill said: "When you publish poetry on such open platforms, people can approach you more easily. If someone talks to me online and tells me a very personal story, I am compelled to respond to them."


Kai-Isaiah Jamal

Kai-Isaiah Jamal is a London-based poet, activist, model, and writer whose work often centres on being a trans black man in the UK. Check out his Instagram for snippets of his beautiful spoken word and writing.