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Twitter @TeachingPoetry

posted: 3.23.10 by archived

A few weeks ago, Teaching Poetry entered the world of Twitter. Yes, it’s true. You can follow us @teachingpoetry.

In case you think Twitter is a passing trend, consider this: Twitterature: The World’s Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less, the work of two University of Chicago undergraduates, was published by Penguin in December 2009. It delivers works by Dante, Shakespeare, Stendhal, and Joyce in a series of bite size morsels. Poets & Writers magazine online writes about it.

Similarly, in 2009 Soft Skull Press bought a 480,000 character novel written entirely on Twitter.

Since we anticipate Twitter sticking around for a while, we thought we’d figure out the nature of the 140-character micromessage. We’ve had our first taste of what poets, publishers, and bookstores are doing in Twitterland. Here’s a sample:

Some people are composing poems, tweet by tweet, like Scott Reid @apwpoet. Others use Twitter to advertise the day’s poems posted to their blogs, such as Yiching Lin @yichinglin.

The haiku—or twaikuis popular on Twitter, naturally, since its small form doesn’t overrun Twitter’s character boundaries. There’s even a trend called haiku-throw-down in which fast-typing tweeters riff on each other’s tweets, creating new three-line poems every minute or less.

The Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival is on Twitter, preparing for National Poetry Month in April.

Poets & Writers, “the primary source of information, support, and guidance for creative writers” is here, as well as the outstanding resource Poets.org, from the Academy of American poets. Poets House gives updated on events at their library, literary center, and hot-seat of poetic inspiration.

You can find news from publishers large and small such as Red Hen Press, organizations such as Poetry Speaks, and bookstores such as Powell’s and McNally Jackson (or McNally Robinson, if you’re in Canada).

All in all, Twitter threatens to unite poets, poetry-lovers, buyers, sellers, and performers of poetry. For those used to poetic solitude, this connectivity might just break all taboos and conventions. Can we stand it?!

Tell Us

Who are your favorite poets on Twitter? How do you use Twitter in your classroom? How do students use it? How do you think social media can be useful in poetry classroom activities? Send us your thoughts.

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Categories: Creative Writing, Joelle Hann (moderator), Literature, Popular Culture, Teaching with Technology
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