Picture a poet and you instantly conjure the image of a penniless artist, struggling to be heard. But it’s 2021 and a new school of literature is turning that stereotypical image on its head – the Instapoets.
Who needs bookshelves when posting your best work on Instagram turns you into a success story with a million followers every day? And leading the way is 28-year-old Arch Hades. She shot to fame with her snippets of verse and such was her following, book deals followed and she was an instant best-seller in Canada and Australia when her book of romantic poetry, High Tide, was released.
The glamorous divorcee who lives in the plush London borough of Kensington used her break-up to pen emotional, modern poems, but it was as a lonely child at an all-girls boarding school that she first discovered her passion for poetry.
Arriving in Britain from her native Russia aged 8, she didn’t speak a word of English.
She says: ‘It was absolutely debilitating – I remember trying to learn and sitting there with children’s books that didn’t feel right to me. The other children didn’t want anything to do with me. For years, they referred to me as “the Russian”.’
‘In the evenings I’d go to the library to cry in peace but after a while, I ended up reading most of the classics over the course of seven years.’ Byron became a particular favourite.
It was her father’s murder that put an end to Arch’s childhood in St Petersburg and, for safety reasons, forcing her to be split up from her siblings.
He had begun to make a name for himself in the shipping industry but describing Russia as a ‘total mob state’ Arch says: ‘At one point he really tried to stand up to the mob. He wanted to make a change. Unfortunately, he was murdered for it. They do what they want, they take what they want’.
The family fled to the UK and, not wanting to take any risks, changed their name. Arch Hades is a pseudonym and she admits she has changed her real name multiple times.
After graduating she spent five years working in politics. Her love life though was turbulent.
‘I was with my ex-husband for fiveyears, then after an unpleasant divorce, I fell into quite a challenging long-distance relationship which ended fairly dramatically.
‘I harbour no ill feelings towards anyone, regardless of how things ended or why. I think I’m a hopeless romantic and I don’t believe there is such a thing as wasted love’.
The poet admits deciding to share her work on social media was one of the biggest steps she’s ever had to take.
‘I was putting all these intimate thoughts out there for the first time. But the response I received was nothing short of fantastic. People felt they could identify with my writing’.
And she is delighted that publishing High Tide then second bestseller Fool’s Gold means people share her love of poetry.
‘Reading romantic poetry online for free is one thing but handing over money for a book is something else’.
While her own eclectic taste covers Virginia Woolf, Somerset Maugham and Slovenian philosopher Zizek, Arch is influenced by the 19th Century Russian poets.
She is also a keen photographer, taking the cover picture on her latest poetry collection.
Check out her Instagram page here.