Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Friday, June 12, 2009

My First Twitter-Poem


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I gather the Twitter phenomenon has led to the verb, "to tweet," which I guess means to post a message on Twitter. As everyone knows (I was among the last to learn this), a twitter-post (the noun must be "tweet") is limited to 140 characters.

Someone had the great idea of establishing a Twitter identity/site that features poems limited to 140 characters. The link is . . .

http://twitter.com/twitlaureate



I found the new poetic form to be irresistible. Here is my first attempt:

One hundred forty characters: a small town of letters, no mayor, no stop-lights, one grocery store, two bars. One fire truck--has flat tire.

There's so much to like about this form (not necessarily about my poem, I grant). It demands compression, and while you're composing, Twitter counts the characters for you, so you are writing and revising at the same time, as well as serving the muse, Arithmetic. I'm Matsuo Basho would not only have blogged but would have also tweeted or twittered or twicked or tweeted.

Because I'm as old as dirt (see dirt in robin's mouth above), I associate "tweet" with the song, "Rockin' Robin," in which "all the little birdies on Jay-Bird Street love to hear the robin go tweet, tweet, tweet." That song usually made me laugh.
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