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NaPoWriMo Poetry Prompt 18: Tweet as Poem

Sarah and Jeff Boyle

Difficulty Level 2/5

Twitter, in addition to being a wonderland of teenage girls, is home to a mind-boggling number of writers. Poets, essayists, journalists, writers of all ilk promote their work and talk shop across the platform. More and more, the writers with the biggest followings treat tweets not just as promotion but as an extension of their art. That is to say, these writers are composing tweets in the same way they compose their essays, poems or stories: as literature. The proof of their success is in their retweets.

If you think about it, it makes sense. The tweet is a small, condensed burst of language. The best tweeters make the most of their 140-characters by making their joke or crafting their image in a single sound bite. Perhaps the two best poet-tweeters in the universe are Joshua Jennifer Espinoza and Patricia Lockwood. Behold:

The best poems and the best tweets do the same thing: say a lot in a little space. The tweet-as-poem often includes a play on words or a pun, thus doubling up the amount of meaning without adding a single character:

The images of the Twitter poem are sparse but concrete:

(Those last two tweets come courtesy of escarp, a literary journal that exists inside Twitter and in your text messages. Check out their profile for more 140-character poems.)

Your task today is to write the perfect tweet. That tweet may be a single perfect image or a joke based on word play. It could be lineated or just a single line of poetry. Tag your twitter poems with #flashbangpgh and we’ll retweet them as we see them. We’ll do a roundup on the blog later in the week with all the poems, too, so you can see them all conveniently in one place.

Didn’t know we were on twitter? Follow us at @flashbangpgh. We’ll follow you back.


Join us in person in Pittsburgh on April 26th at the East End Book Exchange for the Poem-A-Thon Write-In and Reading