Of words and birds, Tweety and otherwise

I have a real post coming, honest! But in the meantime, I have to share a couple of the web goodies I’ve come across in the last few days.

I and the Bird #133 is a treasure-trove of extended literary quotes, mostly from poems. You almost don’t have to click the links (though of course you should.) The host this time is Matthew Sarver, a fellow Western Pennsylvanian with serious naturalist chops and a gift for writing and photography. He’s still in his first year of blogging, but he seems to have taken to it like a duck to water. I and the Bird, in case you’re unfamiliar with it, is a hugely successful, bi-weekly blog carnival about birds and birding — our original inspiration at the Festival of the Trees.

Matt’s one of many birdwatchers on Twitter now — the medium seems like a great fit for birders, and not just because of the avian iconography — and it was on Twitter that I caught the news about Matt’s edition of IATB as I was doing a quick check through the five accounts I maintain there. Yes, five, and I neglect than all! But I’m primarily still focused on Twitter (and Identi.ca) as a medium for micropoetry.

Back when I first started tweeting my Morning Porch entries in November 2007, one of the relatively few Twitterers then sharing haiku was @tinywords, the feed for a daily haiku site with quite a few followers. Then it fell silent in July 2008. Well, just last week I noticed a tweet from @tinywords announcing that tiny words the website was going to start back up, and I clicked through to find a brand new site. And this time, the editor has broadened the focus:

tinywords is now accepting submissions for issue #1. This issue will be edited by tinywords publisher d. f. tweney and will be published, one poem per day, starting December 1.

I’m looking for very short or micro poems of no more than 5 lines, and ideally less than 140 characters. This could include haiku, senryu, tanka, cinquains, or other forms.

Longer works (e.g. haibun) will also be considered if they include a very short poem that can be excerpted.

I’m also interested in artwork and/or poem-artwork combinations (e.g. haiga) that could fit with the theme of miniature poetry.

I’ll accept submissions for a 2-week period only, from November 10-24.

It’s great to see new venues for micropoetry popping up. Tiny words joins Fiona Robyn’s A Handful of Stones and the group blog I contribute to, Open Micro. There’s also an entirely Twitter-based microjournal called Seven By Twenty. And there are quite a few individual purveyors of micropoetry on Twitter these days.

Now, it’s easy to dismiss this efflorescence of short-form verse on the web as pandering to the fractured attention spans endemic to a distraction-rich media environment. There may be some truth to that. But my idea with the Morning Porch was always to try to make people stop for a moment and go “Huh,” and to the extent that I’ve succeeded there — and led others to begin using Twitter and Identi.ca for similar purposes — I count it a success. More than that, poets have been writing various forms of micropoetry for centuries, and why? Because it turns out to be an exceptionally good way to focus the attention. What words are really necessary? What dazzling metaphor has to remain implicit if we are to capture the whole mood? I love the way my Twitter-inspired microprose-poetry discipline forces me to grapple with these questions every morning.

4 Replies to “Of words and birds, Tweety and otherwise”

  1. You’re the one who got me into it, Dave, and I’m really glad because writing micropoetry has been one of the best observational, thinking, and writing challenges of the past year for me — plus it’s gotten me back into thinking poetically. Thanks!

    1. I’m glad to hear you say that, Beth. I remember your sharing a chapbook-length collection of your poetry with me back around 2005 or 2006, I think, and liking it a lot, but I don’t recall your sharing much if any original poetry on the cassandra pages until you joined the gang on Identica. Gratifying to know I was the one responsible for getting you back into poetry! That’s the kind of accomplishment that never makes it into an author’s bio, but it means so much more than some prize or publication somewhere.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.