Instagram sensation Atticus on World Poetry Day: Don’t die with a pen in your hand, be brave
On UNESCO’s World Poetry Day, Atticus speaks with us about his India connect, his published work and tells us why he hides behind a mask and a pen name.Updated: Mar 21, 2018 12:49 IST
Even with over 636K followers on Instagram — including the likes of model Karlie Kloss and actor Emma Roberts — and a book, Love Her Wild, the poet is known to hide his real identity. And why is that? “Atticus is a poet. He’s a part of me, not everything. I chose to wear a mask to remind myself to write what I feel and not what I think I should feel. Plus, in a world centered so much around fame, I think it’s better to be unseen,” says the California-based poet.“I started writing as a way to explore a more creative, vulnerable side and decided to post on Instagram to get feedback and start dialogues, but I never expected it to become what it has become,” he adds.
Atticus finds the poetry of Indian poet-nationalist Sarojini Naidu, “extremely profound”. He also counts American writers Sylvia Plath, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Robert Frost among his favourites. “My grandfather was born in India and spent a lot of time there. On his death bed, he wrote a recount of his youth in India. It was beautiful and colourful. I’d love to go and retrace his steps. India is born of poets! It’s so ingrained in the country. Indira Gandhi said, “I cannot understand how anyone can be an Indian and not be proud.” I love that. I’ve read a lot of Sarojini Naidu — The Nightingale. I find her poetry extremely profound, but there are so many..”
His message to budding poets? Have the courage to share. “You never know whose world you’re going to change with something as simple as your words. So don’t die with a pen in your hand and empty pages, be brave. It’s a real shame how many people die having no idea they were poets. It goes for all artists.”
And, how does it feel seeing his words in a book and why the title, Love Her Wild (Headline Publishing Group).
“I put a lot into this book, seeing it finished was surreal and having people buy it equally surreal and very humbling. We played around with a lot of titles before we landed on this one. We chose “Love Her Wild” for a few reasons; it captured the theme of the book perfectly, it also had multiple meanings which would allow readers to draw what the wished from it. It also helped me separate the book into three themes — Love, Her, and Wild, which grave structure.”
But what about those who call Insta-poetry, a mere fad? How does he enter negativity online? “There will always be critics of short form and online poetry but the resurgence of poetry and writing online is beautiful. It’s getting young people interested in poetry again. It can be a gateway into writing. We have to be careful not to smother that. Some of the best writers in our future will come first out of a love of words they found online.”