Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Small Presses Perfect for Instagram Poetry

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Gretchen Lida

Staff Writer

Gretchen Lida is an essayist and an equestrian. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Brevity, The Rumpus, The Washington Independent Review of Books, and many others. She teaches composition in Illinois, lives in Wisconsin, sometimes lives on Nantucket Island and is still a Colorado Native.

While the Poetry Foundation and Button Poetry may be the juggernauts of Instagram poetry, they are not the only places where you can find provocative and bite-size bits of writing that are destined to stir the soul. There are also tons of other fantastic literary magazines, reading series, and poets who also create incredible things. The beauty of reading poetry, even if it is just scrolling through  social media, is that it stretches our minds, allows us to perceive connections and perspectives we might not have thought about before. Here are a few small presses publishing Instagram poetry, rocking the Insta-game, to follow right now.

Copper Canyon Press

With the lively poetry of masters such as Jericho Brown, Jim Harrison, and Chris Abani, Copper Canyon Press publishes unique and beautifully produced poetry collections. It has been around since 1972, but its Instagram is fresh, updated regularly, and fun to read. Far from just boring screenshots, its poetry social media posts are usually paper poetry in the wild, with a picture of the book and something wild in the background.

Haymarket Books

Based in Chicago, Haymarket Books is better known for publishing groundbreaking works of social justice. Nevertheless, the poetry it publishes is just as hard-hitting, beautiful, and downright unmissable. Some of the poets who have published with Haymarket include Eve Ewing, José Olivarez, and Nate Marshall, and its excellent anthologies titled the Breakbeat Poets are must-haves.  

While its social media is not as poem-heavy as others on this list, its thoughtful posts will make you want to read more, write harder, and take to the streets. It covers its platforms with images and ideas from revolutionary leaders such as Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks.

Orison Books

Named after an archaic word that means “prayer,” Orison publishes poetry that combines high-quality literary work with religious and spiritual writing. As a press, it publishes across religion, identities, and perspectives. There are translations and original works alike, all working to better understand the world we live in.

As readers scroll down its Instagram feed, they will notice how Christian imagery mingles with Islamic ideas, which mix with poetry influenced by Persia. While each poem posted on Orison’s Instagram can be read alone, it is also pleasurable to let them mix across the page.


Verve is a British press based in Birmingham that has cool branding and superb poetry. Their Instagram regularly features poems or excerpts perfect for a quick bite of inspiration. The brightly colored branding is beautifully designed, and each pamphlet and the Instagram photo is a swoon-worthy work of art.

While small, Verve is wonderfully diverse. It features poets that vary by age, experience, and background. Some of the poets include Marina Sanchez, Shazea Quraishi, and many others. The poems, too, go from lyrical, to experimental, to prose style, each a tiny gem.

Alice James Books

After reading the captivating collection Ode to Lithium by Shira Erlichman, it was impossible not to follow its publisher Alice James Books. The Instagram page was shockingly as delightful as Ode to Lithium, and as beautifully curated. Each photo and post is carefully designed, and just like the other presses I have recommended above, it is full of Instagram poetry.

Along with poems, it also features posts that have pulled quotes from the reviews that people have written about its books, and having them pop up on your feed is a great way to see how other writers are currently talking about poetry.  The Press itself was started in the 1970s and was created to be a feminist space. It was also named after Alice James, a female philosopher and writer.