Daley-Ward’s themes—addiction, mental illness, sexuality, body image, womanhood, self-expression—are familiar territory for Instapoetry. In addition, “The Terrible” has the experimental form and style one associates with verse more generally: there are invented words (“blackshining,” “powerfear,” “diediedie”), promiscuous italics and capitalizations, and irregular typefaces. Lines of text hover in fields of white space or are stacked into perfect rectangles. Daley-Ward prefers evocative fragments (“these parents of ours / our makers / our stars”) to complete sentences. Some chapters unfold as scenes in a play, replete with stage directions. (“YOU go the bathroom and struggle to peel this leather costume off your skin.”)
Daley-Ward, a British writer and model, embodies select elements of Instagram poetry while skirting its worst hazards.