Does poetry always have to be intentional? I always find a lot of intentional poetry is contrived or fake deep, especially when self-published. TikTok has provided a great medium for people to post unintentional, often free verse, poetry. Of course, there’s no forcefulness in poetry that doesn’t intend to be anything. With that being said, TikTok provides a great platform for intentional poetry. Short and long form poets and poetesses to perform their craft online in spoken word. Video is always a better means of sharing something than written or audio, and TikTok has come through with users who create relatable and charming poetry, intentional or not.
Personally… my favorite is the unintentional. I think cheekiness and surprise is the most fun in any writing and anything with subtle irony is the best.
Humored Poetry on TikTok
This is a great and bordering on hilarious piece. Albeit, very silly, the way it flows is natural and relatable. There’s a surprise, it’s bordering on unnerving. The combination of the words and the imagery push further the point the author is trying to make. There is an effortlessness about poetry that’s either unintentional or seems like it that is much more approachable and digestible than intentional poetry. The presence of comedy in the bit make it even more relatable, everyone wants to laugh.
This piece is beautiful. The poet is trying deliberately to be poetic. It’s great to have a light shined on bits of life that we don’t think about or romanticize. Speaking about a normal age that’s insignificant and comparing it to the world around oneself and one’s own mental state is applicable to everyone. It’s language is romantic, sensual and deliberate, it’s intentional.
Another intentional poem, this user uses poetry in its most cliché form. Not that this is a bad thing, romantic poetry is the type most commonly associated with poetry. Again, relatable and emotional, this is sweet and endearing. Its sensual, visual and charming. Using a visual medium and just herself performing, we can see her face and emotions where we otherwise wouldn’t.
True to Life Poetry
An Indigenous storytelling, this is one of my favorites. The negativity commonly associated with Indigenous life is humanized and disregarded in this piece. Normal life is normal, parents act like parents. It’s sweet without trying to be and there’s a jovial quality in the speaker’s voice. It’s use of visual medium in making bannock bread make it so easy to watch and listen at the same time, especially since many viewers might not know what bannock is or how it’s made.
Cutting my own hair. #mentalhealth♬ original sound – tobin.mitnick
This final user utilizes his mirror and old, nostalgic pictures. Rather than a voice over, he’s speaking directly to the viewer. He’s honest, open and detailed. Many of us, especially in pandemic times, can relate to self-grooming and figuring out how to cut our own hair. Many of us can relate to seasons of mental unwellness as this guy describes. This is seemingly unintentional, he’s not broadcasting himself as a poet, but it comes across like one.
Pitching poetry forward on TikTok is an amateur’s dream. TikTok’s algorithm praises those who have higher engagement rates in its beginnings. It’s so easy to edit and make. Today, more people want to see reality rather than performance on their phones. It’s so easy to make unintentional poetry when you’re just talking about something in your life, like a haircut or a trip to the mall. Visualizing and focusing not on romanticizing everything but on what’s relatable emotionally and sensually about everyday life is poetic and has a massive audience on TikTok.
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