Poetry of The Spectacle

We’ve all been subjected to the horrors of internet poetry, and most of us apparently, enjoy it. Either we’re a society of cheap taste or one addicted to sadomasochism (with Brexit ‘round the corner, one may argue both).

Poetry at its finest is refined philosophy; truth is the backbone to great rhetoric. What separates a great writer from a good one is philosophical significance after all. The beauty of how something is said is far more transient than the beauty of what is said. So, in a society that has no regard for the past and no ambition for the future- there’s only here and now, it makes sense its rhetoric has gone the way of form over substance. The spectacle of how we speak dominates the truth of what we say.

Rupi Kaur is a go to example for good reason. She uses illustrations and excessive line breaks to portray standard truisms at best. She’s never said anything truly thought provoking, at least in the positive sense. People now observe poetry more than they read it; the line breaks, the backgrounds, the fonts, the illustrations are all part of the experience. They’ve surpassed complementing the piece, and they no longer merely distract from substance; they’ve become the substance. Poetry has become a spectacle.

With the right imagery, the above could easily make for a Duracell advert

This Spectacle Poetry aims to dazzle and overawe, relying on cheap impulses and emotional highs rather than granting philosophical insight and the odd epiphany. It’s all rhythm and no meaning, and so long as it persists, poetry will be dominated by mediocrity and cheap thrills.