The Next Chapter

Atticus the poet has over one million followers on Instagram. What inspires his poetry?

The anonymous poet, who has more than one million followers on Instagram, talks about why he became a poet and why Paris is the ultimate muse.
The Dark Between Our Stars is a poetry collection by Atticus. (Atria Books, Xavier Espinoza)

Atticus is an anonymous poet from British Columbia's west coast, known online as @atticuspoetry. His handwritten and typewriter-printed poems are popular on Instagram. He has more than one million followers, including celebrities like Karlie Kloss and Alicia Keys. He's collected these poems into two collections, the most recent being The Dark Between Stars.

Finding inspiration

"I like to write about what I see. I often write about love and I draw a lot from my personal experiences. But I also like to imagine what it would be like to lose love when I'm old or remember back to when I'm young and finding love for the first time. Those are the themes I love to write about. I would say I'm a hopeless romantic."

The ultimate muse

"Paris is my muse. Paris, I should say, is one of my first loves. A lot of people don't know this, but the first poem I ever wrote was in Paris. I was walking the streets and it just rained and I saw something very beautiful. And I wrote a poem about it in my phone. It was about five years ago. I've been back there many times since.

"I've been saying the best muses inspire truth over imagination. I've always found that about Paris. You can walk around and just write what you see, instead of having to use your imagination. I find it incredibly inspiring."

Being anonymous

"I chose to write anonymously because I wanted to remind myself to write what I feel and not what I think I should feel — not write for other people. I found the best way to be vulnerable would be if I had that mask and that anonymity. I try to keep it about the words. If you like the words, you like the words and if you don't, that's fine too."

Attius's comments have been edited for length and clarity.