Tootling around on Twitter, I’ve come upon a delightful community of poets. Their hashtag is #micropoetry. What these writers have realized is that Twitter’s restriction of 140 characters can be a stimulating challenge to finding just the right words to express concisely an impression, an experience, a thought.
Much micropoetry on Twitter seems to be images from the natural world. While many of these poems are clichéd, some have a freshness. Here are three, from different tweeters:
The second most popular category seems to be love poems. Alas, most are sentimental. But I do like this one:
Then there are many that are downright fun. Four of my favorites:
Lately the #micropoetry community has discovered that a perfect form for micropoetry already exists—the haiku, with its strict three lines: five syllables, then seven syllables, then five again. Here are some of my favorites;
The haiku traditionally draws on images from nature, as in the poems above. But it doesn’t have to. Look at these:
Speaking of truth, other micropoets are commenting on current events. I like the clever end-rhyming in this poem on our election season, posted in early October:
And this one from October 8th, honoring the women who were on the boat that aimed to break the blockade of Gaza:
Checking in from time to time on #micropoetry, I always find it heartening that so many people want to work with the craft of shaping words. Before Twitter, there were certainly countless nameless poets: people writing poetry for themselves and a few friends. Writing it just because of the mysterious satisfaction of taking our most common means of communication—verbal language—and molding it into a carrier of meaning beyond the words’ bare definitions.
But then came this gift of the Internet. On Twitter, these people who love language can instantly form a community, have an audience, receive responses, sometimes play off of each other’s lines.
To my mind, it doesn’t matter that much of the #micropoetry is hackneyed. What matters is that people seek outlets for their creative impulses. The marvelous truth is that creativity is so deeply part of who we are as humans that it will take any new medium as its material.
Naturally, then, some of Twitter’s micropoetry celebrates poetry itself.
Read it / write it / magnetize it / to the fridge / but somehow / enrich / your life / with poetry
And this delightful self-mocking poem, teasing about Twitter itself:
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Written by: Peggy Rosenthal
Peggy Rosenthal is director of Poetry Retreats and writes widely on poetry as a spiritual resource. Her books include Praying through Poetry: Hope for Violent Times (Franciscan Media), and The Poets’ Jesus (Oxford). See Amazon for a full list. She also teaches an online course, “Poetry as a Spiritual Practice,” through Image’s Glen Online program.
The Twitter poets featured in this post are: @coffeeperc, @sarahcpotter, @AkiSchilz, @dgdreamin, @tankaqueen, @FahadYousufzai, @SusanPurr, @Peter_G_Massey, @HoggRob, @ShortOrderPoet, @MSeeseTweets, @TyseerIbrahim, @Razarumi, and @Gonzobacardi.