January 29, 2019
Goodbye old white male poets
by Christina Cerio
Goodbye old/dead, white, male poets. Hello young, female poets. Donna Ferguson of The Guardian reports that “Young women aged 13 to 24 are now the biggest consumers of poetry in the UK in a market that has grown by 48% over the past five years to £12.3m [$16.1m].”
The data was provided by Nielsen BookScan, a book sales data site used within the publishing industry. Nielsen BookScan shares data on the authors that these 13 to 24 year old women are buying, and it’s not old/dead white male poets. Poets are reviving the genre to appeal to issues its new readers have experienced, meaning the 13 to 24 year old females that are buying poetry want to read work from other 13 to 24 year old females.
With a semi-new trend of Instapoets (poets that publish their work on Instagram), poetry is more accessible to its primary consumers. According to The NPD Group, 12 of the top 20 bestselling poetry authors in 2017 were Instapoets, and 47 percent of poetry books sold in the U.S. in 2017 were written by Instapoets.
The popularity in Instapoetry is believed to be accessibility and support of female ideas and feelings that weren’t adequately captured in poetry by male authors.
Emma Wright, founder of the poetry publishing house The Emma Press, noted in The Guardian interview,
“There’s a sense of relief that you can talk about things like periods or pubic hair and share them and not get tarred and feathered.”
Publish Drive shared a few extremely popular Instapoets that started on social media and all went on to self-publish their own poetry books. Click below to see full Instagram profiles to support the female poet movement!
Christina Cerio is the Manager of Direct Sales & Special Projects at Melville House.