Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Definition (from Wikipedia)
A form of poetry using the 140 character limitation of Twitter, with a four-line, AABB rhyme scheme, with at least one internal rhyme and some use of alliteration, written in one line with a forward-slash to indicate line breaks. Twitterku is a combination of Twitter, the micro-blogging site, and Haiku, the traditional short-form Japanese poetry.

Intimately, beneath a digital moon, / fractal flowers, in full bloom / sway back and forth as one, / infinitely, dreaming of the analog sun. -K.I.A.


And here is a blog where you can read more: after Basho, Buddha, and Japan: An Other Road into the Heartland, such as this one:

Stuck in traffic
on the freeway in Santa Barbara.
With apologies to Kurt Vonnegut:
there’s no damn free and no damn way.
Just here and now.

~Kokoro Sonzai 2009 (trans. Son Rivers)
reformatted from original twitter for twitterku


I find this use of twitter really fascinating. Would it be too weird to start writing Twitterku and/or Twitter sonnets (14 lines, 10 characters a line), without using a cellphone?


Pete said...

Good info....

Permanente Ontharing

Collin Kelley said...

I do most of my twittering from my laptop.

Claire said...

Where does this AABB four line thing come from? Haiku is three lines, with a pattern of 5,7,5 syllables. Love the idea of tweeting it though.

Michael Dylan Welch said...

But of course, haiku is 5-7-5 in Japanese, where they count sounds, not syllables (for example, the word "haiku" is three sounds in Japanese, but two syllables in English). Despite widespread popular belief that haiku in English is 5-7-5 syllables, if you're writing that length, you're writing something much longer than what they write in Japanese. Nearly all linguists, translators, and the vast bulk of poets publishing literary haiku agree on this, but somehow school teachers and textbooks never learned this and have continued to misinform students of all ages over many decades. Moreover, the incorrect emphasis 5-7-5 syllables detrimentally overshadows necessities of haiku that are far more important than form, even in Japan, including kigo (season word), kireji (cutting word, dividing the poem into two fragments), and primarily objective sensory imagery. It's a shame that haiku is so widely and deeply misunderstood in English.

I do think it's interesting, though, that Twitter is producing a rise in popularity for short poetry, whether it's haiku, haiku-like, or something else.

Michael Dylan Welch

Peter said...

Michael: I think you're exactly right. We focus too much on the syllable count, and not the essential qualities that make a haiku a haiku.

Anonymous said...

great minds and all... I just read a fragment of a quote by actor Hugh Laurie bemoaning the banality of twitter, and suggesting at 140 character poetry form. I posted two of these today on my blog and had also dubbed them twitter-ku.