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Twitter and Texting, the Poetry of a Generation

Is modern communication the best practice for writing poetry?

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Twitter and Texting, the Poetry of a Generation
[ Social Media]

Carol Ann Duffy is an acclaimed Scottish poet responsible for dozens of well-respected collections. In 2009, she was appointed Britain’s poet laureate, making her the first woman to ever hold the position.

And she thinks that Twitter and text messaging is helping our kids with the art of poetry.

Talking to the Telegraph, the 55-year-old poet said that “the poem is a form of texting…it’s the original text.”

Her argument in support of social media and mobile communication stems from the fact that poetry and Twitter have a lot in common. They are both forms of communication that rely on economy of language – saying what you want to say with less.

“[Poetry is] a perfecting of a feeling in language – it’s a way of saying more with less, just as texting is.

We are reading less now than we did and a lot of young people spend a lot of time in front of a computer on Facebook or tweeting.

We’ve got to realise that the Facebook generation is the future – and, oddly enough, poetry is the perfect form for them.”

She says that poetry is the literary form most suited to survive the “age of Twitter and Blackberry” because it is about brevity, and therefore more accessible.

I’m with you, Carol. I, for one, have been know to make use of the 140 character limit to showcase some of my awesome haiku skills.

snack time! leave the pool // adolescence plus clingage // gotta find a towel 32 minutes ago via web · powered by @socialditto

Let’s think about your basic txtspk.

“Y r u doin that bro?”

“I kno rite? srsly, its fukkin dum”

It all seems to be a descendant of Shakespeare or Milton or Yeats. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day // yo, word.”

And this, my friends, must be the work of a modern day poet –

#TheLastTimeIChecked lyinq is a sin & i dnt need a friend ! 2 minutes ago via Snaptu · powered by @socialditto

GO PACK GO BITCHES #repeatchamps 3 minutes ago via Twitter for Android · powered by @socialditto

But in all seriousness, does Duffy have a point? Poetry is all about creating emotion and conveying complex ideas with sparse language – showing not telling. Is all that Tweeting and Texting allowing people to practice their poetry, without even knowing it?

It’s true that studying poetry helps you to be a better prose writer, as you learn how to be concise and how to use only 5 words when you want to use 15. In the same way, Twitter teaches us to use 140 characters when we might want to use 500.

Is poetry being kept alive by social media and texting? Let us know how you feel.

Twitter and Texting, the Poetry of a Generation
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