I’ve been using Twitter as a means for exercising my poetry muscles. I got very interested in the haiku and the western haiku and even read Jane Hirshfield’s The Heart of Haiku to properly study the form and found that Twitter’s character limit was a great way of forcing my poetry into a frame. It was a great exercise in saying as much as I can within tight constraints.
I really enjoy doing it and it’s become my thing, really. I try to do it as often as I can, at least once a day, to help keep my mind sharp. Like a muscle, you go to the gym to develop it by lifting weights. I use the same analogy with creativity. Writing Twitter poems develops precision of thought. It focuses my mind so that I say everything I need to say in just so many words.
I still believe that poetry relies on being terse because the power is within the sharpness and the immediacy of the message. If a poem is long, then the subject matter must be immense; the concept must be grand to warrant its length.
It helps me from being repetitive with my images. If I’m going to extend a metaphor, there has to be a reason for it. I must be able to justify it and that’s the whole point as to why I keep writing Twitter poems. It’s training. I’m flexing my muscles and hoping they get stronger.
I actually have over a hundred already and I’m thinking of refining them and putting them out in an E-book. If I did, would you buy it?
So, while I’m very happy with my progress in the haiku and western haiku forms, I think it would be of interest to study more poetry forms and to find a new style with which to play and practice with so that I can expand my poetic vocabulary. I’ve been writing poems the same way since I first got into it in 1999. I now want to be able to write with a broader set of literary tools.
I was quite interested with studying the Beat poets and figuring out their process and methods and studying their structure and see if I can fit into that mold. I’d like to try and make a few Beat poems myself and see if I could find my voice in that form but I am not feeling that strongly about it.
I’ll be going through and looking at other poetry forms to find one that suits me. I know I won’t be trying out the classic forms like sestinas or sonnets: that’s too restrictive and my vocabulary isn’t best suited for that. I like words and build around them. Rhymed and metered structures, I feel, works well if you like all the words and know them intimately, whereas I like a word for that moment and work everything else around that one word.
I’ll be looking out for new forms and expanding my literary tools and hopefully be read with a fourth concept for a poetry collection. I already have one book ready, and two more books building. Hopefully, when the fourth one comes out, it will be a product of the sort of engagement I’ll be making this year.
Hopefully, when I start putting out poetry books online, you’d buy them.