Rising industry of ‘poetry influencers’


Words of wisdom: One of the poems posted on the Puisidisenja Instagram page. It translates as ‘God is never wrong, we just can’t accept it yet.’ — The Jakarta Post/ANN

AJENG Larasati and Dinda Darmawan might look like two ordinary best friends. But these 20-year-old college students are actually the personalities behind one of the most influential poetry accounts on Instagram, Sesakata.

Sesakata is an alternative art platform for those who wish to share and enjoy stories of daily life through writing and painting. The pair started the account in July 2018.

The account’s name, Sesakata, is a play on words. Sesak can both mean “dense” and “tightness in the chest”, while kata is simply “words”.

The two women aim to help express people’s everyday anxiety in the form of handwritten poetry decorated with distinctive touches of abstract brushstrokes.

Sesakata’s journey began at a time when Ajeng started to feel anxious about life. Rather than drowning herself in her anxiety, she and Dinda tried to forge those concerns into a work of art that others could enjoy.

“It started with a piece of paper written on with a pencil and scribbled with a brush. We uploaded some of the scribbles on Instagram and beyond our expectations, it turned out that our friends liked the writing,” explained the pair.

The writings published on Sesakata reference many renowned poets like US poet Morgan Harper Nichols.

Another poetry account, Puisidisenja, is also inspired by local poets such as Theoresia Rumthe and Weslly Johannes.

“They (Theoresia and Weslly) have beautiful diction and I love their work. And I learned a lot of new vocabulary from their poems,” said Nia, the woman behind the account.

Sesakata has gained 217,000 followers so far. It engages its audience by allowing them to submit their own stories.

One of Sesakata’s followers is Sartika Lestari, a 20-year-old digital marketing specialist in Bogor.

“I feel represented. I can tell a story without worrying about who the people behind @sesakata are,” she said.

Some people say these works are not genuine poetry, as they write phrases without traditional figurative language and rhyme and use directly quoted spoken words instead.

“Some people call us artists and we are so glad but honestly, we are just ordinary people who express our feelings through writing and painting.

“We hope we can entertain and influence other people to express their feelings and love themselves,” said Ajeng and Lara.

There is an industry in this trend, as all of these works bring in cash. Sesakata had its work transformed into a book and an art exhibition. Puisi Senja has been adapted into a YouTube channel, podcast and novel.

Sesakata is hoping to build a collaboration space to meet followers and continue preserving the art of writing and reading poetry. — The Jakarta Post/ANN

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