There has been a steady increase in interest in creative nonfiction in the last year, with poetry, in particular, now more popular than ever.
Google searches for “how to write a poem” now see more than 47,700 hits every month globally, up 12% in the last year in the UK alone as Brits turn to the internet to help them understand how to nail the classic art form.
Poetry is also particularly popular amongst TikTok users, as views on #Poetry videos amass more than 67.5 billion views from users with a shared love of the spoken word.
Now, experts at ExamPapersPlus.co.uk have analysed the most popular poetry videos on TikTok to understand what themes and influencers are resonating most with the younger generation and share advice on how to write a poem that’s sure to go viral.
The growing popularity of #Poetry
Among the poetry-loving users of TikTok has spawned several sub-communities of creatives, with one group cleverly coined “PoetryTok” racking up more than 3.7 billion views on content labelled with this hashtag.
With the #PoetryLover tag now with more than 5.1 billion views and the hashtag #PoetsOfTikTok also gaining in popularity (583.9 million views), there is no denying that the sharing of original poetry on TikTok is more popular than ever amongst online audiences.
But what makes poetry so popular on TikTok?
Contemporary poetry, and especially the poetry gaining widespread popularity on TikTok, tends to touch on a range of themes that reflect our modern society’s diverse perspectives and experiences. These poems delve into difficult topics and themes faced by minorities worldwide and offer a unique perspective on what are often shared experiences worldwide.
TikTok’s top poems and themes
Analysis of the top videos on TikTok tagged with the #Poetry hashtag shows several consistent themes and topics amongst the most viewed videos.
The most common themes across TikTok’s poetry communities can largely be broken down into four categories: Identity and self-exploration, social justice and activism, love and relationships, and mental health and well-being.
Identity and self-exploration
Many of TikTok’s poets touch on themes of personal identity, self-discovery, and self-acceptance. This theme often intersects with discussions of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, as well as their various cultural backgrounds.
Social justice and activism
TikTok poets often use their work as a platform to address pressing social issues such as inequality, discrimination, racism, environmental concerns, and political turmoil. Their poems can shed light on injustices and inspire readers to take action and advocate for change.
Love and relationships
Love remains a timeless theme in poetry, and the poets of TikTok continue to explore the complexities of romantic relationships, platonic bonds, and familial connections through themes of intimacy, heartbreak, longing, and the dynamics of love in the modern world.
Mental health and well-being
With a growing awareness of the mental health struggles faced by users of TikTok, many of the platform’s poets write candidly about their own experiences with anxiety, depression, trauma, and healing. Their poems offer a space for viewers to relate to and solace in shared emotions.
Poetry in pop culture
Just as many pop stars and musicians are often called poets because their lyrics resemble traditional poetic styles, several poignant events have propelled the original poetry of certain individuals into the mainstream.
Rupi Kaur – 316.2m TikTok views
Known for her short, impactful poems and visual art, Rupi Kaur has grown a massive following on social media thanks to the shareability of the bite-sized poems from her best-selling poetry collections like “Milk and Honey” and “The Sun and Her Flowers.”
Amanda Gorman – 19.2m TikTok views
This young poet gained widespread media acclaim for her poem “The Hill We Climb,” which she famously recited at the 2021 presidential inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the US.
Warsan Shire – 14.1m TikTok views
This British-Somali poet, whose work often explores themes of identity, migration, and womanhood, gained mainstream attention through her collaboration with Beyoncé on the pop star’s visual album “Lemonade.”
Expert advice for poetry writing
With the tag #WritingTips also trending on TikTok (over 770m views) and more than 47,700 people turning to Google every month looking for information on “how to write a poem”, Faisal Nasim, founder of ExamPapersPlus.co.uk shares his top tips for producing original poetry.
“With so many types of poetry out there, it can be daunting to know where to start when writing something original and meaningful to both you and your intended audience.
“But a good poet has something to say that can’t be kept inside. Use that personal passion, an experience or an emotion as your starting point, and everything else will fall into place!
“Don’t feel pressured to make your words ‘fit’ into one of the more popular types of poetry, as some of the rawest poems have just been free verses that lack regular metre or rhyming scheme. Unboxing yourself from a specific “type” of the poem will allow your words to flow more flexibly.
“First, just start by jotting down words, phrases or descriptions of images and emotions you feel about your topic or theme. This will help you gather your immediate thoughts into one place and allow you a ‘bank’ of thoughts to refer to within your writing.
“Remember to use imagery and descriptive language, including metaphors and similes, to help engage your audience’s imagination, and play around with sound and rhythm devices like alliteration and assonance to elevate the musicality of your writing.
“Tapping into your emotions will allow you to infuse your poem with personality and authenticity and help you to convey your feelings through carefully chosen words and phrases.
“Reading your work aloud will help you to identify any awkward phrasing or rhythm issues and highlight areas that might need some improvement. But try to embrace imperfection, too! Not all poems are perfect! Creative writing is a journey, and each attempt you make will contribute to your growth as a poet.”