Then my son Jimmy sent me an article, "The Ideal Length of Everything Online, Backed by Research," which defines (among other things) the ideal length of a tweet as 100 characters and the ideal length of a Facebook post as less than 40 characters. Naturally, I thought about writing poems short enough to be posted on social media.
I searched online to find out what already existed on the topic. In an article from 2011, Carol Ann Duffy, Britain's Poet Laureate, said poetry is "a way of saying more with less, just as texting is. We've got to realise that the Facebook generation is the future – and, oddly enough, poetry is the perfect form for them. It's a kind of time capsule – it allows feelings and ideas to travel big distances in a very condensed form."
To celebrate National Poetry Month, New York City hosted its fifth annual "#NYCPoetweet" Twitter poetry contest. So obviously, I didn't make up the idea of writing poems to post on social media sites, although I've posted a number myself. Haiku fit perfectly, as you can see in Laura's daily Riddle-Ku. Liz Garton Scanlon is posting a haiku on her blog every day this month. My cousin Maureen sent me an article about H. W. Brands (@hwbrands), an author, historian, and history professor who is tweeting "Haiku History: The American Saga Seventeen Syllables at a Time."
But a brief poem intended for social media doesn't need a specific form—it just has to be a short poem, maybe with a tangy metaphor, an alliterative pun, or a haiku-like twist. Writing short-short poems is practice in writing concisely. Here are a couple new ones of mine, both about this spring in Wisconsin:
Gray skies, more rain.
One goldfinch brightens
Wet sidewalks = worm traps.
Stop wiggling—I'm trying to help!
I found social media-length poems on Twitter using these hashtags:
If you search (as I did), be aware that you will find poems of uneven quality, from brilliant to confusing to downright offensive. But do try writing some of your own just for fun—and then share them online!
Rafflecopter lists our prize winners on the original post, so you can always check back there after a drawing ends to see who won. Five entries were chosen to receive five books each. Here are the winners:
New Teaching Author Book Giveaway!
Don't forget to enter for a chance to win a copy of Jill Esbaum's Angry Birds Playground: Rain Forest.
National Poetry Month
On my own blog, I'm posting more poetry writing tips and assorted poetry treats on Fridays through April. This week's post includes the final National Poetry Month giveaway of Write a Poem Step by Step. Be sure to stop by!
JoAnn Early Macken