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03 November 2012

Twitterature 101: “To Tweet or Not To Tweet, that is the Question.”

“The tweet is the newest form of literature,” so declared PBS Idea Channel host/writer Mike Rugnetta.  If this be true, then yonder the Elysian Fields, a formalist literature professor’s countenance shifted from stoic to frenetic. 

“Alas, what barbarism cometh before me! Titus, bring forth the sword of tradition and defend the purity of the written word. It is not ghastly enough that free verse hath polluted the inviolability of the speech of deities, now this new bastard of technology threatens us anew.”

Jesting aside, it is not surprising that tweet may become a literary form because it still imposes one of the incontestable requirements of classical art, which is the arbitrary limitation of form.  In the case of tweet, 140 characters only.  Now a rhymester up for the challenge will find this new literary threat enticing. 

“A verse in 140 characters or less? Hand me the quill, Marquee De Sade, I do not budge in the face of new sadism.”

If you ask me, anyone can compose a tweet with less than 140 characters; however, in order for the tweet to prove its worth as a new literary form, it must stand by its rigid limitation.  A tweet verse must have 140 characters, no more, no less, and with proper punctuation.  You must end a perfect tweet verse with a period, or as poetic license, a comma.  This does not mean a well-written tweet verse with fewer than 140 characters is inferior.   We may just call it a “tweet-in-free-verse.” That sounds like a tweet in reverse if you say it fast enough.  But I digress. 140 characters, that’s it. Period.  If you think that is easy to do, try it.  I tried and with moderate success, subjectively speaking.

The following are my attempts at tweet verse. At present, I manage to compose only a single perfect tweet verse.  The others fall short.

What if Emily Dickinson tweeted?
Image part of public domain
A perfect tweet verse: 140 characters
You seek the one who never came; you came to the one who never sought. You wonder why the rabbit dug a hole. Alice, you never left your orb.

A tweet-in-free-verse: Less than 140 characters
[139] I say and the good senator quibbles with pigeon feet. He scratches, furtively laughs and now we’re in the dark. Tell me, who shot the lark?

[139] I saw an octopus gave birth with a curious scarf: 8 hooks, 8 fibs, 8 dastardly deeds. What a circus Sisyphus. Whoops, there goes your rock.

[139] I’m single because you’re married, and I’ll marry when you broke the knot. It is nothing personal; I’m just your Damocles in our honeypot.

[132] Your words dwell in his pockets and all you gave me is mendacity. Come give me a “silver sentence;” I want to splurge in mediocrity.

[131] If you wish to love, fill not the cup, but covet the puppet that holds the pot. Drink up, love is to be stolen, not to be summoned.

For more tweet verses, visit my Twitter page. Click this.

(First published in “The Chair” Blog)

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