Poetry is the fabric of our world — a digital tour of poetry in the modern age

Follow me as we take a tour of the different forms of modern poetry that exist in the 21st century.

Poetry is a tool that can advocate for awareness of social issues such as mental health, Feminism, discrimination and body shaming.

Some of the different approaches toward poetry in the 21st century, explored in this text, will highlight how widespread the global poetry community is and how involved they are in advocating for social change in their respective local communities.

From Slam Poetry to Black-Out Poetry, this article will hopefully allow you to explore something new in the world of poetry. Maybe you might even find a form of poetry you would like to dabble in during your free time.

First of all, what is poetry?


Poetry is essentially a form of self- expression. Any emotions you feel, when thrown into words with rhythm and imagery can become poetry.

So why is it so important today?

For us, poetry has always been about storytelling. It began as an aural form of communication, with the first written poem known as Homer’s The Iliad. When we think of poetry, initially we may think of the works of famous poets such as William Blake or Emily Dickinson.

I would like to explore how poetry has grown from the written word. The written word is paramount, however, from the written word several interactive forms of poetry have emerged.

Now, we may not always understand the importance or the power of poetry. So, I would like to think this Dead Poets Society gif will remind you of poetry’s power.

Poetry captures essential human emotions. It is important to us now because of its ability to raise people’s voices. Many of us may feel unable to express our emotions or opinions on important topics- it can happen to us all.

Modern poetry further enables us to voice ourselves and our struggles. It reminds us that poetry has always been timeless. Poetry has always been capable of carrying our struggles over time, adding to its rich history as a movement that I believe will forever change and never die out.

If you don’t believe that words can make change then go and google Slam poetry.

Slam poetry is a form of performance poetry, where we can express ourselves through free verse and individually written poems.


Slam Poetry revolutionised poetry and revamped interest in performance poetry worldwide up until this day. Slam poetry is a hit for the youth who may feel unable to express themselves in other aspects of their life. They are more popular than you may think.

Watch the following and I guarantee that you’ll feel at least a little bit emotional.

Neil Hilborn expresses his struggle living with OCD and how it affects his relationships

Why does poetry make us feel this way?

Poetry is powerful!

It can change our mind about topics that hold stigma, such as mental health or body shaming. It can make us feel the direct emotions of the poet.

Examples of popular slam poets include:

Neil Hilborn
‘How can it be a mistake if I don’t have to wash my hands after I touch her?’

Neil Hilborn is an acclaimed slam poet best known for his performance of “OCD”. Neil Hilborn’s slam poem has the audience in tears, as he delivers powerful lines on how OCD interfered with his love life. It is these struggles that go unnoticed, which is why poetry is so important.

Sabrina Benaim
“I’m sleepwalking in an ocean of happiness I cannot baptise myself in.”

She is famous for her slam poem “Explaining my Depression to my Mother” where she provides emotional insight into what it is really like to have depression and interacting with people who do not understand it.

Bilal Hafda
“ (…) take a carving knife to the modern, model, manly man.”

Bilal Hafda is a slam poet at Bankstown Poetry Slam in Sydney, Australia. He composes and performs poems that subvert the stereotypical view of the man as being unemotional and physically strong. My favourite poem of his would be “The Strongest Man in the World”

Blythe Baird
“When I was little, someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up and I said… small.”

Blythe Baird is also an acclaimed slam poet who performs poetry about body shaming. Her most famous poem is “When the Fat Girl Gets Skinny” which looks at the double standards around weight loss and what you may not know about eating disorders.

Now if you haven’t noticed already, poetry is part of the fabric of our world.

It underpins popular culture.


It is because poetry is first and foremost about stories. We have been telling stories since before writing was invented. It has been a constant form of communication.

A wild claim which many have made- which I agree with and which you may want to explore- is that songs can often be a form of poetry.

Take a look at the lyrics from the song Supermarket Flowers by acclaimed songwriter and performer Ed Sheeran.


Not only does the emotion come from the death of his grandmother from his mum’s side, but the imagery is very clear.

He describes the little things we do when a loved one passes way — from getting rid of the tea they never finished, to packing up the photo album they were last flipping through.

When you combine the imagery of these small gestures with rhythm, then what seems like poetry transforms into music.

I would claim that it is just a different form of poetry. Like I said, poetry adapts itself to different situations.

I sometimes think that Ed Sheeran would’ve been a poet in a past age.

Furthermore, Bob Dylan — a famous artist- won the Nobel prize for literature because of his deep and meaningful lyrics which could essentially be poetry.

Now the evolution of poetry doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t enjoy past poets.

In fact, we often reinvent and allude to past poems to raise recognition of poets we believe have influenced the realm of poetry. For example, the Simpsons paid tribute to Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem The Raven.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you now find yourself interested in looking up more about Edgar Allan Poe.

There’s also a tumblr that refashions popular pop songs into Shakespearean sonnets.

Refashioning a Taylor Swift song into a sonnet

Other forms of modern poetry include Blackout poetry where you black out words from newspapers or books to create poems. This form of poetry recreates literature in fun and inventive ways.

By Austin Kleon : http://austinkleon.com/category/newspaper-blackout-poems/

There are also contemporary poets such as Rupi Kaur and Amanda Lovelace.


Their poetry is characterised by its simplicity and minimalist quality which makes it appealing to us. It is easily consumable and thus easy to take a lesson from.

Now let us move on to the poetry community.

Locally there is a chance of finding fellow poets at poetry slams.

In Australia, there are many popular poetry slam venues such as Bankstown Poetry Slam and Parramatta Poetry Slam.

Globally, the poetry community is alive and well on instagram and more specifically twitter. In fact, the month of April was filled with poetry as it was #nationalpoetrymonth.

World Poetry Day was on the 21st March 2017.

So whatever you may think, poetry is everywhere!

Don’t ignore it!

In fact, I urge you to unleash your inner poet.

I hope this article has given you different ideas of the type of poetry you might like to make. So grab a pen, a piece of paper and write to your heart’s content.

Trust me!

In today’s world it will be immensely therapeutic.

Poetry is beautiful! Over the years it’s adapted itself to ensure its survival.

Poetry is no longer constrained to words on paper.

Today it is all about spoken emotion.

That is one thing that hasn’t changed about poetry.

Throughout its evolution poetry has always involved two components …

words and emotion.

That’s all from me.

Happy storytelling!