The story of the modern
2015 was a pivotal time for the emerging micro-poetry subculture. It was three years in the making, and with artists like Tyler Knott and Christopher Poindexter having set the tone early on, a new generation of typewriter poets emerged. Each artist with their own voice, style and gifting.
With major publishers proving massive global success from poets like Tyler Knott and Lang Leav, gritty underground publishers began to sign artists and release books, offering big promises laced with stars and dollar signs. Artists from all over the world began believing that they might just walk straight into their destinies and onto the bookshelves. 2015 was a time of great excitement. They felt as though the mainstream publishing industry might disrupt right before their wide and eager eyes, and each of them might play a role in some great new literary movement.
But by the end of 2015, the excitement had muted into an anxious lull. Deadlines were missed, promises were left undone, and hundreds of new typewriter poets suddenly found their dreams in limbo. A layer of anxiety and intention mixed like oil and water across the whole global subculture, as artists began fighting, starting wars and trolling each other. Many good-hearted people got caught up in the muddy mix.
In December of 2015, in response to all of the negative energy that was surfacing like a great storm, Analog de Leon, one of the subculture's leaders, connected one hundred or so other influential poets into a handful of private group chats, petitioning a new community direction.
Among the members of those early critical community chats were: Cindy Cherie, Christopher Poindexter, Topher Kerby, Chris Ferreiras, Sidd Long, Vivi Dale, R.H. Sin, Kat Savage, Marisa Crane, Brittin Oakman, Richard Camus, Daniel Saint, Jacki Birdsmith, Monika Firechild, Adrian Michael Green, Lauren Eden, High Poet Society, Rose Clu, The Poetry Bandit, Jeff Ironword, Alison Malee, Becca Lee, and many others.
Analog's petition read something like, "Let's leave all the darkness and hate behind us in 2015. For the new year, let's agree to build each other up and be fresh water for those who are looking to us as leaders. Together we have the power to change the global conversation
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Most of the subculture's leaders joined in the new agreement. Within a few days, there was a clear tipping point, the negative energy in the subculture simply washed out. It is rare to see such a great change move across the world so quickly. The global conversation shifted, with self-love and empowerment the new dominant voice. They all learned a valuable lesson that week about impact, about the power of art in harmony. Many voices joined in one song can move the world to change.
The community bonded into a tribe. A beautiful new family of diverse poets from around the world began comparing stories about their experiences, and it quickly became apparent that millions of isolated people were looking to them as their only source of wisdom. It was becoming clear there was more at work than just art. Being a leader carried with it a higher calling, and many of the subculture's influencers began to embody the call. A great idea began to anchor into everyone's gut just days before the new year. . . We are beings of infinite light, capable of infinite possibility, and when we connect with that mysterious light, there is nothing we can't accomplish, no hole we can't crawl out of, and no storm that can weather our ship.
"So we beat on, boats against the current,
borne back ceaselessly into the past."
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald
Chapter 2 - Queens & Kings
2016 proved to be an important year for the modern poetry subculture. Rupi Kaur, a Canada based micro-poet dedicated to empowering women, was exploding in the darkness with her new book, breaking records and championing modern poetry to the mainstream. Other artists like r.h. Sin, Tyler Knott and Lang Leav, were also proving that poetry could transcend the underground and reach the masses. Every artist in the subculture could feel promise in the air like electricity; potential energy just waiting to be focused into renaissance.
In January of 2016, a new poet, Yasmin Gomez, had an idea. She and Raquel Franco, another new member in the subculture, collaborated to found a community poetry page, Words with Queens.
Their mission was to be a voice of self-love and empowerment for women. They also joined forces with Sidd Long, who founded Words With Kings
; a brother page with a similar mission.
Analog de Leon caught wind of the new endeavor and within weeks of the initiative's inception, he began collaborating with Yasmin, Raquel, and Sidd to expand Words with Queens & Kings
into more than just Instagram pages. Together they curated a new collective. It was the perfect vehicle for the tribe of poets that had formed a year earlier in community group chats, a way for them to focus themselves and their mission. About seventy poets joined the collective, with only one rule for membership– no hate.
Early 2016 was pure excitement. It felt like the beginning of a new Motown. The tribe of global poets became a safe haven, a place to come when they found themselves breathless and find consistent support. Throughout 2016, more than twenty volunteers gave their nights and weekends to the cause, and the two pages swelled from zero to over 300k followers.
Chapter 3 - Crown Anthologies
By the summer of 2016, the global micro-poetry subculture was bracing as the independent publishers totally collapsed in scandal and litigation, and thousands of artists lost their dreams and their money.
As a campaign to offer hope to those artists, several of the subculture's leaders organized, and Crown Anthologies
was born. A collaborative book seemed a worthy group distraction from the madness.
Gabriel Sage, a poet and student of literature, corralled an A&R team with eight artist reps, Vivi Dale put together a marketing team with ten page curators, Raquel Franco coordinated six editors to help the collective find their creative voices, and Analog de Leon built an infrastructure and directed the course. 250 poems, by more than sixty of the subculture's top poets, were compiled into the anthology. Tyler Knott would later write the foreword, bringing everything full circle, as Crown Anthologies, in many ways, was the culmination of the subculture he helped pioneer.
By the spring of 2017, Crown Anthologies'
contributors had grown to a combined following of more than 4.1 million, and many of the new digital typewriter poets were breaking records on the world's bestseller lists, proving poetry was once again in high demand.
It seems the overstimulated and hyper connected world had fostered a new generation of micro-poets that appealed to the generation's short attention span. With the daily readership having grown to more than twelve million, poetry was having a major come back on the world stage in the form of short micro-poems. The last time poetry had been so popular was the beat generation, as Ginsberg and Kerouac remade the world in a wave of revolution and art.
From early on, Andrews McMeel saw the modern micro-poetry vision. As the publisher of this decades most successful poets including Lang Leav, Rupi Kaur, rh Sin, and others, Andrew Mcmeel understood what hip-hop fans know to be true, the masses love poetry when it is accessible. Their roster of micro-poets continue to shatter global records, proving once again that poetry can have a voice on the world stage. With millions sold in an almost totally forgotten genre of books, while the gritty underground publishers were stirring up chaos, Andrews McMeel was launching the renaissance.
Along the way, Andrews McMeel also signed two poets from the earlier collective, Alison Malee for her new book, The Day Is Ready For You
, and Analog de Leon for his debut book, Vērtigo
. The relationship would prove monumental, as it allowed Analog to introduce them to Crown Anthologies
, and a new alliance was immediately forged.
By agreeing to publish, distribute and promote Crown Anthologies
everywhere books are sold, Andrews McMeel became a key ally in the subculture's mission to empower the hopeless and the lost.
It was only a matter of time before the emerging poetry subculture collided with a visionary backer like Andrews McMeel. The newly formed partnership was shaping up to be a powerful force in modern poetry.
"Motown is a family of wonderfully talented, passionate, hardworking people, each fiercely competitive but full of love."
-- Berry Gordy (Founder of Motown)@analog.poems
Chapter 4 - The Lost Poets
Can words really make a difference? They come alive in our minds and direct the course of our lives. Every great renaissance began with poetry because words have the power to reshape culture.
In early 2017, Gabriel Sage
and Analog (Chris Purifoy)
took a writing retreat to Joshua Tree to dig into the DNA of great art. On that trip to the desert, they learned a critical lesson from Jonathan Swift about how great art is not just the aesthetic; the words or the sound, the visuals or the rhetoric. But rather, truly great art is a mirror for an age, a sincere and true reflection of the world. When someone sees themselves in this reflection, in a mirror of the world that doesn't look the way they thought, they are forced to consider some great new idea. Swift's mirror of the age has the power to break people free of indifference.
On that first Joshua Tree retreat, they brought with them several Great American Novels hoping to find the thread that connected On the Road
with The Catcher and the Rye
, and To Kill a Mockingbird
with The Grapes of Wrath
. What they learned was that the DNA of great art is impact. Each great novel was a reflection of its age, a voice for its generation. They learned on that pivotal retreat to Joshua Tree that great art has purpose; that art can make impact on a generation in ways no other influence can. They returned with a vision for a new collective, one they hoped would be a voice for a lost generation.
By mid 2017, current events were growing volatile. Many of the subcultures' leaders were speaking almost daily about the plight of our lost generation. About how we are born in a digital age where truth has gone the way of alternative facts, social good has become secondary to economic gain, beauty is defined by photoshop and prejudice and injustice have become the dominant voices of our generation. They began to see the desperate need for Bob Dylan & Maya Angelou style voices of resistance.
Throughout 2017, Analog and Gabriel took several more trips to Joshua Tree to continue their examination of great art and our lost generation. Each trip unpacked the mission even further, and by summer of 2017 their vision for the future was clear. And so, along with many of the subculture's leaders, a new coalition of poets & artists was officially born. Lost Poets
would be the new vehicle of the resistance.
In the Fall of 2017, Gabriel Sage & Analog de Leon invited a group of team members, and a world class board of advisors to come around the new coalition and help them take their mission through the glass ceiling and into the broader culture.
Among the new advisors were: John Lenac, a former global Yahoo!
director, Gayl Murphy, a celebrity coach and legendary rock journalist, Gregg Latterman, the founder of Aware Records
(John Mayer's label), and Ana Rold, the Editor-in-Chief for many of the world's top global forums including the G7
(formerly the G8
) and the G20
It was becoming apparent that a great poetry renaissance might not just be hyperbole.Lost Poets
was formed to be a catalyst for the future, a curator for anthologies and publishing projects, to enable its collective with opportunities for mass exposure and global credibility, and to empower artists to make impact with their art and live sustainably.
The only rules for membership:1. No Hate
2. Be Love
3. Resist InjusticeLost Poets
embodies the notion that great art has purpose. Their mission is to be a voice for equality, human rights, the hopeless and the voiceless– to create art not just for the sake of art, but for the greater good.
The resistance has already begun.
The renaissance is forthcoming.
The revolution will not be televised
[until it's over
].Join the resistance.
Commit your art to purpose. @analog.poems