Twit Lit and microfiction: how twitter is redefining writing

“Brevity is the Soul of Wit”

Twitter has taken the world by storm. It’s easy, fast, and convenient. It allows you to let anyone you want know what you are doing or thinking at any time.

Until recently the major criticism of Twitter was that ‘tweets’ tended to be of trivial import. It was discovered that the importance many people attach to their own ephemeral thoughts or actions greatly exceeds the common estimate.

Then came the election protests in Iran. For once, people used Twitter, along with Facebook and other sites, as a serious effort to effect social and political change.

Now, we at the World Mind Network would like to go a step further. We’d like to know if tweets can produce writing of lasting quality.

We have scanned the globe to find respected poetic forms which can be completed in fewer than 140 characters. We came up with the Limerick, Haiku, the Clerihew, Quintilla, the Than-Bauk, Sijo, Cinquain, and Kural.

We request that you try your hand at creating tweets which fit these formats. We are offering a prize for the best work. Details are at the bottom. We’ll add some of the entries to this site. (If you don’t want your poem included, or if you want your name withheld, tell us.)

First, we’ll describe each form. In most cases we’ll cite a traditional example, and then write a modern version, using as subject matter this very site itself.

Read more:

NY Times article:

For two years, John Wray, the author of the well-regarded novel “Lowboy,” has beenspinning out a Twitter story based on a character named Citizen that he cut from the novel, a contemporary version of the serialization that Dickens and other fiction writers once enjoyed.

“I don’t view the constraints of the format as in any way necessarily precluding literary quality,” he said. “It’s just a different form. And it’s still early days, so people are still really trying to figure out how to communicate with it, beyond just reporting that their Cheerios are soggy.” (Mr. Wray’s breakfast-food posts are, at the very least, far funnier than the usual kind: “Citizen opened the book. Inside, he found the purpose of existence expressed logarithmically. From what he could tell, it involved toast.”)

The linguist Ben Zimmer said he thought the growing popularity of the service as a creative outlet could be ascribed to the same “impulse that goes into writing a sonnet, of accepting those kind of limits.” But he admitted that his favorite Twitter literature in recent weeks has not been exactly Shakespearean: the wildly profane and popular Twitter musings that purported to be by the Chicago mayor-elect, Rahm Emanuel, but whose real author was recently revealed to be the rock journalist Dan Sinker.

Read more:





August 28, 2011. Uncategorized.

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