man looking at phone instagram poetry
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Do I dare / Disturb the twitterverse?
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Americans are reading a lot of poetry right now, if you count “Instagram poetry”

By Thu-Huong Ha

In the current moment, the United States is a nation of poetry readers. Kind of.

At time of writing, four of the 15 best-selling books on Amazon US are poetry volumes, ish. Three are by Instagram poets, and the fourth is a parody of them, which, somehow, is also based on Vines.

Here’s where they currently sit on Amazon’s bestseller list, which updates hourly:

No. 5: Milk and Vine, by Adam Gasiewski and Emily Beck
No. 7: I hope this reaches her in time, by r.h. Sin
No. 11: The Sun and her Flowers, by Rupi Kaur
No. 12: Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur

r.h. Sin is an Instagram poet with 900,000 followers, whose social media aphorisms can best be summed up as “Ladies, dump ‘im.” I hope this reaches her in time is self-published by the author, and can be purchased for $3. Since its release yesterday (Nov. 19), it has shot from 2,138 to seventh on Amazon’s overall book sales ranking. Sin has published five books previously, and he has sold at least 300,000 copies of his books, he says in an email.

“Yet somehow we all must pretend that the success that I’ve achieved has no merit,” he writes, “Simply because I choose not to write for critics but for people who need these words, individuals who feel the same way as I do.”

Sin shares a publisher with Rupi Kaur, the writer of platitudinous Instagram poems people love to hate. Kaur’s two breathless books have collectively spent 89 weeks on the New York Times’ bestselling paperback trade-fiction list since her first, Milk and Honey, came out in 2015.

The one poetry book outselling these two social-media poets on Amazon trades on derision toward them. Milk and Vine is a parody book by two college freshmen at Temple University, who collected quotes from “classic” Vines, the much-loved and now-dead video platform, to emulate and satirize the pseudo-profundity of the popular Insta-poets.

This post has been updated with comment from r.h. Sin.