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TikTok poetry: The death of art or a new frontier?

Eckert, Jillian
Poetry as an art form shifts and evolves alongside new developments in communication and technology. The emergence of TikTok has provided a new medium for poets to experiment with. My thesis will investigate how poets engage with TikTok’s trends, algorithms, and formats. Much like popular Instagram poetry during the 2010s, TikTok poetry tends to be broad in an effort to be relatable and easy to consume. However, the app’s unique combination of audio and visual elements adds a new dimension to poetry written for social media: sound. TikTok poets certainly draw inspiration from slam poetry, though with a few significant departures. TikTok poetry also follows trends and is largely written to gain followers and popularity, not just for the sake of writing poetry. Its surface-level nature also garners criticism from people who don’t consider it “real poetry.” However, there are some instances of TikTok users stumbling upon poetry as a vehicle for critiquing the state of society and internet culture at large. Alongside the poems reminiscent of popular Instapoetry, a whole new type of TikTok poetry is emerging—the type that can only exist because of TikTok itself.