It started with a need for an outlet. Alexander Bentley lived over seven thousand miles away from his girlfriend in the Philippines, and video calling and instant messaging were not enough for him. His all-consuming need to be with her pushed him to write poetry about his feelings and share it with the world on social media.
What started out as an obscure Instagram page in 2014 ballooned into one of the most popular pages for Instapoetry, as the category is called. Bentley has since grown his social media following to over 350,000 followers worldwide. He has published four books, most notably The Raven Redux & Other Poems, which pays a haunting tribute to his all-time favorite writer and poet, Edgar Allan Poe. He is such a hardcore Poe fan that he purchased and still owns a rare first-edition first printing of “The Raven” poem, originally published in 1845 in The American Review publication.
Bentley’s other works include Eversleep: The Beauty of Dark Silence, A Poet’s Manifesto, and The Black Mirror: A Book of Sayings.
The forty-one-year-old self-taught poet currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona, not far from where he grew up as a young boy. On Facebook, Alexander Bentley has the fastest-growing poetry page and ranks as the number 5 top poet on the platform. He has seen phenomenal growth in many countries, including the Philippines, where he has over 75,000 followers, as well as India, Pakistan, and Nigeria.
His most popular poem, “She Called Me Night,” has been read by more than 5 million people on social media. But even with the success of his “Night” poem, he has not stopped writing and sharing new poems every day with his growing number of international fans.
In Bentley’s pursuit to spread his poetry far and wide in the last few months, he passed up many notable poets on Facebook, including R. H. Sin and R. M. Drake (both New York Times bestselling authors) and Rudy Francisco (2010 Individual World Poetry Slam champion).
“I feel like what separates me the most from other poets and writers on social media is that I write on subjects that are relatable, whether it’s about love and romance, death and depression, or past traumatic experience,” the writer said. He says that his poems have been well received even during the COVID-19 pandemic because most of them have been written about positive subjects. “I have given people hope, as it seemed the world was falling apart around them.” Bentley also carefully crafts the images for his poems, which contain words mashed up with a simple drawing or colorful illustration. The drawings link back to the poem’s text in some way, which provides readers with a deeper visceral experience.
Bentley is also self-publishing his 5th book titled She Called Me Night later this year, based on his most popular poem. It is a project that stemmed from his fans demanding another book with their favorite poems. When it arrives, the book will come in two versions—one with drawn images to further express the meaning behind his words and a standard edition without images. Both will be available on major online retailers, including Amazon and Amazon Kindle.
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