Poets find new platform in Twitter

Since the days of papyrus leaves and Virgil’s Aeneid, poetry has been read out loud as a form of entertainment.

Not much has changed. But now instead of reading their poems from pieces of paper, poets have picked up cell phones to share their art. And they’ll be reading from Twitter, a social networking tool that lends itself to poetry’s brevity, said Heather Rasley, organizer of Cool Date: A Night of Twitter Poetry.

“We could easily be living in another universe where a different popular service is being used toward a similar end,” Rasley told the Daily Dot. “Electricity finds a path to ground. Creativity finds a path to expression. Twitter is a path. What’s interesting to me is that this hasn’t happened sooner. It has taken a bit for its particular usefulness to become clear, I think.”

Rasley, 28, has been working on Cool Date for more than a month. On Tuesday some of Twitter’s most prolific poets will meet in New York to read their writing live. So far six poets are scheduled to speak, including Heiko Julien (@pizzashaman), a Tumblr and Twitter poet whose work reflects the simple yet beautiful things in life. Take his poem “king haircut” for example:

livin in the city & im doin fine
doin all my chores & i drink red wine
makin lotsa money cuz i come correct
u cant ask for much more than that

These sorts of poems, and those from Mick Twister, are breathing new life into the ancient form of literary art which has seen its overall readership fall from 17 percent of adults in 1992 to about eight percent in 2008. And while some poetry purists may be quick to turn their noses up at Twitter art, these sorts of innovators are keeping it relevant,  Rasley said.

“There’s something that feels both fresh and appropriate about what they’re doing,” she told the Daily Dot. “Now is the time for sexts and ghosts and intentional misspellings and jokes like this [from Twitter poet @lizard_wizard77]: ‘well your resume is impeckable. but as a bird i resent that so your fired.’ And now is the time for being open to the idea that all of that is poetry.”

For more information on the poetry reading, visit the event’s Facebook page.

Fernando Alfonso III

Fernando Alfonso III

Fernando Alfonso III served as an early Reddit and 4chan reporter and the Daily Dot’s first art director until 2016. He’s gone on to report at Lexington’s Herald-Leader and at the Houston Chronicle.