‘Young women who have made empires out of their Instagram poetry deserve to be recognised for that,’ she says diplomatically.
‘I think it’s cool - people who are writing about their feelings and their bodies and puberty or whatever are probably paying their parents' mortgages.'
‘But I also think that, as much as everyone needs to start somewhere, sometimes I read [Instagram poety] and it feels like pop music. I like pop music, but some of it sounds like it could have been churned out by a machine, and our ears are somehow trained to enjoy it.’
Like most people in their 20s and 30s, Gatwood feels hopelessly beholden to social media, something heightened by how integral it feels to her professional success.
‘We’re addicted to Instagram and it’s insane and I hate it,’ she says. ‘I’m really private and I don’t like sharing a lot of things from my life. But I have this crazy instinct to go and look at it, and I do have to fight the feeling of worrying about my relevancy, because it’s like: “oh your follower count isn’t growing at the rate it should be”’.
On stage, Gatwood’s delivery ranges from joyful and mellifluous, to melancholy, to rageful - often in the course of a single piece. Like many great performance poets, she exudes a rare kind of energy which makes part of you wish you could trade places with her, if only to know what such emotional clarity - or at least, the performance of it - feels like. The millions of YouTube views are one measure of her popularity, but it’s in the comments you see how much her poems resonate with her fans.