By Mahpharah Khan
Gabbie Hanna’s poetry is an abomination to all amazing poets of the past and of the present. She slaps words on a page and calls it “art”.
It looks more like bulls—t.
A poem titled, “Iron” reads:
“When I was young
my mom used to check if the iron was hot
by touching it,
and, I don’t know,
I just feel like there’s
a metaphor in there somewhere.”
This piece comes from Hanna’s 2017 poetry collection, “Adultolescence,” in which she attempts to describe the beauty of the mundane.
This is a fascinating perspective, but Hanna fails to do so due to her laziness. Hanna believes the intent behind her poems exonerates her from having poor writing quality. Her poor writing infantilizes the seriousness of the topics mentioned in her poems — it is a shame.
Hanna is not a poet; she gained recognition through the social media platform Vine as “TheGabbieShow.” Then, as Vine died out, Hanna moved to YouTube as “Gabbie Hanna” and gained a large following.
In other words, her poetry book is a money-maker rather than an authentic work of art.
Writers have always studied those who came before them, and it is essential to be an avid reader in order to become a writer. One cannot write well without reading; it creates an intrinsic requirement to appreciate literature in order to write and convey one’s feelings well. It is obvious that Hanna does not appreciate literature — it is evident in her poetry, and it is evident in what she says.
Hanna made a YouTube video back in April introducing her new poetry collection titled, “Dandelion.” She states:
“People aren’t scrambling very often to read the ‘Iliad’ or the ‘Odyssey.’ They’re great works, but it’s not what people want to sit down and read,” Hanna said. “I assume, if it was anything like when I was in school, most students aren’t jumping for joy when they’re assigned Shakespeare. But, people are really into books like ‘Milk and Honey.’”
There are many problems with this statement. If people aren’t rushing to read the “Iliad” or the “Odyssey,” why are they still being read, taught and discussed today? Why is Shakespeare still taught today? These writers spoke about the human condition and what it was like to experience love, pride, betrayal, happiness, anger and more.
We still experience these feelings — writers like Homer, Shakespeare and many other classic writers are timeless. Just because it was written in a different language or time doesn’t mean we cannot relate to it. Also, does Hanna know that the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey” are epic poems, not books?
She clearly doesn’t.
Hanna explains that people are really into books like “Milk and Honey.” This insinuates that Hanna is only concerned with what will make her money. Young adults today love aesthetics, and Hanna knows that if her work is pleasing to the eye that it will sell.
Who would’ve thought that poetry was about profit?
The epitome of Hanna’s laziness is shown in one poem titled, “IDK”:
“I dunno, yanno?”
That could literally be a tweet. Hanna really has the audacity to call her work “art”. It looks more like the garbage pail to me. It’s stupid.
In her YouTube video titled, “Time to Talk About My Bad Poetry,” she introduces her new poetry collection, “Dandelion,” and contradicts herself throughout the entire video. The title says it all — she knows her poetry is horrible. She states that her work is open for criticism, yet says her poems were too “deep” for anyone to understand.
Hanna’s poetry was somehow able to be published — her collection is for sale at any bookstore. Once a writer demands a reader to pay money for their work, anyone has the right to criticize it. Her poems are funny because they are so ridiculous, but they also deserve the constructive criticism they get because Hanna conveys that she wants to be taken seriously as an artist and a writer. If she is serious about it, then she should be open to criticism. That is how all writers become good ones.
The truth is: Hanna cannot handle any criticism.
The funniest poem she’s written, “Relative” states:
This poem is so cringy that it can’t even be read aloud. Hanna tries to experiment with word play but does it badly. Some poets agonize over word order or what better word there is to use, meanwhile Hanna is overcome by her laziness and doesn’t care, simply because she has a following and she knows it will make her money — even if it is bad.
There is a misconception that modern-day poets are lousy ones. This is not true. There have been poets who have found support through online platforms such as Instagram — they’re called “insta poets,” and while this may have a negative connotation, it shouldn’t. Literature should be accessible, and Instagram makes it accessible.
Just because it was posted to Instagram doesn’t mean it’s bad. It is hard to be an aspiring writer and to eventually become published. Poets can gain a following through social media easily, and it’s a great thing.
Of course, their poetry has to be well-written. Writing quality cannot be abandoned for any poem.
“Constructive criticism doesn’t belittle people, it doesn’t name-call, it doesn’t say your work is bad or terrible,” Hanna said in her poetry video.
Constructive criticism does not belittle people. It encourages the person to be better — in Hanna’s case, to write better. Constructive criticism does have the right to say a piece of literature is bad. People have read classic authors who are highly respected, and will still say their works are bad, for whatever reason. Having a high-status and a large following does not excuse you from criticism — something Hanna does not understand.
People have criticized Hanna’s poetry just to have a laugh, but there have also been people who point out specifically why her poetry is bad. They do not denounce her character — they denounce her writing. YouTuber Rachel Oates made a few videos about Hanna’s poetry and she talks in depth about why her poetry is bad. She doesn’t just trash it, which shows how people aren’t “out to get her” like Hanna has claimed before. She reads Hanna’s poems, talks about them and then compares it to a poem using similar techniques and explains why a certain writer did it better.
So, it gets more annoying when Hanna claims there is no constructive criticism when there is — she is just not receptive to change because she believes she is right, all of the time.
If Hanna really wants to become a good writer and poet, she should listen to her peers and be open to receiving constructive criticism. However, her bank account probably looks real good to her right now, so it’s probably safe to say that we can get more laughs in the meantime.