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How lockdown has inspired a new generation of poets, storytellers

While some have taken to verse to express realities, a few feel that writing poetry and narrating stories on social media is a cathartic experience

How lockdown has inspired a new generation of poets, storytellers
M Nivas and Ekshikaa S


When the world is going through a digital revolution, writers and poets also have taken a digital route. The two-month lockdown has seen a rise in Insta-poets and storytellers.

Architect Ekshikaa S started performing spoken word poetry six months ago. “Though I have been writing poems, it was only now I have started posting them on my Instagram page. Apart from posting poems, I also recite poems once in a while. But both poems will be different. When a person reads a poem on Instagram, it should look aesthetically pleasing as well. The fonts, spacing and visuals matters a lot. A reader can interpret a written poem in different ways. But when I am reciting a poem, my followers are watching the way I talk, my body language, etc. Once in a while, I also perform musical poetry. So, in between the poem, there will be a musical verse. Some will easily get bored while listening to a 4-minute poetry. So, when you sing in the middle, it will make the poetry recital more interesting,” says Ekshikaa.

The youngster observes that there are many criticisms for Instapoets than the normal poets. “If people read poems on social media and get inspired to read poetry books, then it is a good thing. They can even read works of renowned poets. But I don’t want people to think that what they read on Instagram is what poetry is all about. I feel poetry lovers should equally support Instagram poets as well,” she adds.

M Nivas, a former school teacher, has been narrating folktales and snippets about famous leaders on Instagram for the past two months. “Since my school is shut, I didn’t know what to do while sitting at home. That’s when I decided to narrate stories in English and Tamil. So, I picked up stories with morals like Thenali Raman, Vikramaditya-Vedalam stories. Also, I select interesting anecdotes from the lives of leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Martin Luther King and so on. I keep switching between these two segments. Also, I make sure that my stories are compact — I won’t exceed more than 5 minutes,” says Nivas.

Writer and theatre-maker Deepika Arwind shares poems on Instagram as an immediate way to respond to things happening around. “Sometimes, I don’t know how to respond to things and poetry was my way of responding to the time. Though I don’t follow any themes as such, my poems are based on Indian middle-class society. Reading habits have also changed — some people love reading a book; some prefer online options,” says Deepika.

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