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Letter to Jon Lupin, the poetrybandit

Instagram poet of solace

Letter to Jon Lupin, the poetrybandit
Photo by David Klein on Unsplash

‘Poetry is a

bandaid for the


nobody sees

but you.’

Jon Lupin

Dear Jon,

I have been following your work on Instagram for some time. You accompany your words with insights into your life; ordinary domestic scenes which anyone can relate to. Your words may appear initially to be simplistic, but they have the magical quality of reaching out to intergenerational readers.

Many of your poems are exceedingly short and it is this format that is particular to Instagram. It requires a special skill to use this medium for presenting poetry.

Designed for photographs and short video in the main, poetry MUST be brief to fit. That requires judicious use of words and a succinct style.

Something you have mastered in your own inimitable way.

‘Put a dreamer

in a box

and watch

that box

get larger

and larger.’

By Iulia Mihailov on Unsplash

Your words are most pertinent to young people; those who are embarking on relationships and finding themselves out of their depth, experimenting with alcohol and other substances, looking for a way through the complexities of adult life.

Inevitably some fall off the ladder, drift into hopelessness and alcohol.

It is here where your particular skills lie. Having battled alcohol and depression successfully, you bring sincerity and clarity to all, speaking directly to those who are maybe only briefly susceptible to intervention.

The possibility for change, previously unimaginable, is presented in language that tunes into their world, breaks through the barriers they have put up around themselves and opens lines of communication.

‘Tough love

doesn’t work

on people

who are


I greatly admire your honesty about your battle over alcohol and the way you generously support others who are battling their addiction.

I have often noticed you replying to messages from people who are in distress.

The immediacy of Instagram as a platform brings your poetry into their livingroom in short bursts of consciousness. Their phones are a conduit to understanding, when traditional counselling may have been abandoned or refused. They might never have thought to turn to poetry, or that poetry could ever be relevant to their lives.

I went to the dark side

of beautiful

and came back

a different person’.

By pawel szvmanski on Unsplash

Your book ‘My Sober Little Moon’, documents your struggles and offers hope and healing through your words. I have recommended this to some who are travelling that long and difficult road to a sober life.

‘I wasn’t given a

second chance

just to

play it safe.

Mediocrity can


and I am


with dying’.

‘Everyone’s out there

holding hands

and I’m just


getting comfortable’.

with holding my breath’.

One thing causes me some disquiet. You have included your children in your public life. I get that this is another way that you portray your honesty, but I feel uncomfortable about it.

Their privacy is exposed to a world that is not always kind. Don’t get me wrong; I would welcome you and your family into my life if you knocked on my door, but your children have yet to reach maturity and cannot give their permission to be part of your media face.

Please think about them.

‘Make your heart

a playground

for yourself,

not a battleground

for others.’

The beauty of Instagram is the ability to mix words with pictures.

Illustrations to your words invite people to see inside your daily life.

I have seen you in your home, connecting with your kids, walking your dog, eating in restaurants. This domesticity confirms that you are REAL, grounded in normality.

There is a strength in this reality, a solidity which creates a bond with the reader who can believe the words are designed to speak to him personally.

‘I have learned not

to fight the voices

in my head.

So I built them a

chapel and made

them my choir.’

Who knows how long Instagram will survive?

People come and go on social media platforms. In ten years time, things will be very different, but I do believe that your words will continue to touch lives.

‘We need to stop

putting expectations

on people who are


it’s not your journey

but that doesn’t mean

you can’t cheer them on!

I am very pleased to have come across your words and I will cheer you on in your continuing journey. Thank you for sharing the dark times as well as the light in your life.

Best wishes

Originally published on Medium Aug 2020

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