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Mick Twister tweets current events as limericks

Mick Twister’s 140-character limericks might be the most unusual way to catch up on the day’s news. 


Lauren Rae Orsini

Internet Culture

To comment on the news of the day, Mick Twister combines one of the world’s newest forms of communication with one of its oldest.

At @Twitmericks, Twister posts 140-character limericks about the news of the day. From the Sun phone hacking scandal to Manchester United’s latest win, the Londoner packages each current event into its own rhyme.

“The best subjects are self-important public figures who are always open to some gentle mockerythe Murdochs, Berlusconis and Strauss-Kahns of the world,“ he told the Daily Dot. “I see [Twitmericks] as a continuation of the oral tradition of the limerick, as an easily memorable verse that takes the piss out of the powerful.”

A part-time cryptic crossword compiler, Twister first got interested in limericks on May 12, 2011, a day that marks World Limerick Day, or the 199th birthday of Edward Lear, the inventor of the limerick.

“I had this idea of writing limericks on Twitter, and wondered whether it would be possible to fit the five lines into 140 characters,” he said “I searched on Twitter for ‘limerick’ and along with things about the city in Ireland, found a few people had written verses that day, which just happened to be World Limerick Day.”

Twister wrote his first limerick, fittingly, about Lear himself:

There was an old man name of Lear
We remember this day every year
If he’d had Twitter then
He’d’ve put down the pen
And written a limerick here.

Clocking in two to three limericks per day on average, Twister has now written over 1,000 different limericks, all archived on his WordPress blog. He said material comes easily and it rarely takes him longer than a lunch break to compose a new limerick.

“There’s usually lots of inspiration around, from when I turn on the radio in the morning and read the papers and online news sites,” he said. “I commute to work on the underground, so quite often I write one on my iPhone on my way in and post it when I get off. Then perhaps I take a half-hour lunch break in the cafe round the corner from work and write another one then.”

His efforts have not gone unnoticed. When he celebrated a year of limericks on May 12, 2012, the Washington Post and the New Statesman, and wrote to commemorate his accomplishment.

Twister, whose nom de plume is an anagram of “Twitmericks,” asked to go by an alias in order to keep his professional life, as a London TV news producer, from his personal life, as a limerick composer.

In the future, Twister hopes to publish a compilation book of his favorite limericks. But he’s not quitting his day job anytime soon.

“I’d love to publish an end-of-year compilation for 2012, once I’ve done a full calendar year, but news stuff is tricky with publishers’ deadlines, and obviously dates fast,” he said. “So I may look at self-publishing options later in the year, but meanwhile I’m working with a publisher on a book of limericks about historical events/people which I hope will come out in 2013.”

The Daily Dot is honored Twister has bestowed us with one of his trademark limericks. You can read it on our welcome page.

Photo via Twitmericks

The Daily Dot