College of Communication Master of Arts Theses


Selena Cotte

Date of Award

Winter 3-20-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Media and Cinema Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Paul Booth

Second Advisor

Dr. Samantha Close


This thesis canonizes “Tumblr poetry” as a distinct and separate genre of poetry, closely related to other digital poetry movements but ultimately its own phenomenon. Through historical analysis, the criticism against Tumblr poetry and digital poetry as a whole become familiar in a cycle of negative reactions to changing poets and changing audiences. Through textual analysis of poems found on Tumblr, common attributes and style changes are identified and contrasted with more traditional contemporary poetry, signifying a distinct formal shift. Finally, through a platform analysis, poetry communities on Reddit and Instagram are similarly analyzed and contrasted with Tumblr poetry to showcase the effects that platform has on the communities that form, and why “Tumblr poetry” is not the same as “internet poetry.” Through these three different analyses, a more rounded image of Tumblr poetry as a phenomenon becomes apparent, further contributing to research about how community and art creation interact, and how digital culture and “mainstream” culture are becoming more ubiquitous.