Why Use Twitter to Write One’s Poetry
by Beth Boldman
As an English teacher with 27 years of experience, poetry has fascinated and inspired me. Until a few months ago, I believed it was a dead art. Then, as I scrolled down on Twitter, I began running into peoples writing poetry, some rhymed, most did not, but seeing their efforts began to get me motivated to try writing my own.
Writing this type of art has transformed me. I never thought I’d sell my novels professionally, but on Twitter actual people read my poems and comment on them. I hope this inspires you to try your own hand at composing.
Twitter has allowed me to hone my poetic chops into pithy, concentrated language that has delighted and captivated my friends and family on that social media platform.
Poetry can come in as many different forms as many as there are people: haiku, sonnets, ballad, blank form, or rhyming couplets. People love creating concrete poems that look like Christmas trees or dripping water faucets. I love them all.
Twitter has helped me find even more joy in writing in different ways. One is talking to writers who have honed their own craft—and getting in on some wonderful conversations on their use of words have turned my craft around for the better.
The process of writing poetry on Twitter forced me to make every word count, to use language in double and sometimes triple entendre. In one poem, I used the word “refrain” in three ways--1) to destroy, and 2) to break up 3) to take boards and remake them into something different.
It gives the last two lines more of an impact if the reader knows what to look for as he/she reads.
I added it below:
Springtime is now a lonely memory
of sun and plants and wind and rain
of music, friends with deep affinity.
I'd hold it close and then refrain
my winter's mood and current pain.
Note that my pattern is ABABB—that means I didn’t use rhyming couplets—where every two lines rhyme, but I broke them up, and the words now flow more easily, and the meaning of the poems becomes more transparent.
Another way that satisfies my poetic urges on Twitter is using the wonderful photography and artwork that my followers and those I follow post. Some of them are well-known by classic artists and photographers, but some of it is their own work.
I scroll for hours looking for the right image which captures my imagination and inspires a verse or two. One particular painting of a woman holding an abalone shell inspired this verse which blew up my feed:
She offered up her song
and the stars danced.
She offered up her heart
and the ancient pines bowed their heads.
She offered up her soul
and God clasped it tenderly to His bosom.
Extended arms of a beautiful woman captivated me, and the last line drew many readers to its deeper meaning that God loves and cherishes all of us.
Since people click like or make comments or retweet it, the poet gets immediate feedback, and a popular poem should be the goal of every writer.
Listening to music while I search Twitter helps me relax and lets the creativity flow through my mind and into my fingers. It keeps me calm even when I am deleting a poem I did not care for. The key is not to give up if something does not come in minutes or doesn’t sound good after I have started.
One day I only wrote a four-line verse, and I called that a good day. Another way I use Twitter is by reading other poet’s lyrical verses that they have posted.
I have found writers on many different levels and abilities—even different languages, which often makes me wish I had more linguistic skills. I can stumble through the French one with the help of a dictionary, but the Russian poems make me cry—because I do not understand them.
I have read dozens of other people’s labors, and a few at the top make my heart weep, let my mind whirl, and promotes my pen to scribble—because a sense of competition enters my fingers, and I find myself wanting to write better.
Once a friend of mine and myself got into a poetry write off—her poem started the show, which motivated me to writing one in return, which had her responding with wonderful words of her own.
Here is one of my efforts in that epic poetry-write-off:
She watched him walk through the cafe's sole exit
and hurry across a Parisian street
and out of her young but lonely life.
He had been so clear, his reasons so well-defined.
He didn't need her loving touch nor her creative mind.
Sharing poems with people on Twitter can be exchanged with people you know who may be poetic enthusiasts. Exchanging them and posting them might be satisfying if everyone agrees to do something like that. A small group of my friends and me wrote a dozen poems once, before there was a thing called Twitter, but it would easily lend itself to such a format.
Still fear of disappointment and failure may hamper one’s efforts.
These other poems and pictures have started me writing what I call “One Line Reviews.” It becomes an interesting way in complimenting people on their efforts in a poetic manner, but also makes me think up new and compelling words to use in my own poetry.
The rules for this are simple: paint a picture in one sentence or one or two words. An individual had a beautiful artwork of a man painted with extraordinary colors. I reviewed it this way: “Magnificent colors swirl in a waking dream.”
Now for a sample of more one line wonders:
“Pools of harmony and light”
“While the wind tries to catch swift heels”
“Simple truth unfolded.”
“Magic on a breeze worth feeling on my face”
Try it and see what kind of reactions you get—I bet there will be a lot of Thank Yous.
It is a great exercise in packing a literary punch where every word needs to be concentrated imagery. Beginners may want to try this first before writing a whole poem that rhymes or has more than one stanza, which may intimidate the uninitiated.
Do not be afraid to start off small if trying to rhyme for the first time. Two lines, three, four, are not so frightening. And buying a rhyming dictionary is not breaking the rules. I have one my Nanny Cameron used, with a publishing date of 1936. I absolutely love it and use it daily.
Here are a couple of short rhyming examples you might find useful:
While the harsh wind plays a blowing chord
Your strong arm ‘round me is my true reward.
The ocean is in my veins
no matter how far away
the shoreline lays.
I love the strong loud music
playing in my rough hewn soul
it sings, bursting forth wildly,
a deeply needed miracle.
You do not have to have to rhyme, painting a picture with words is the very essence of a poem. Use your senses and paint with broad strokes what moves you, that you feel deep in your soul.
I paused a solitary moment
on a carved stone bridge
to watch autumn paint
the fog-dressed trees in muted oranges and reds
as air tinted with a silver tone shivered
and the wide pond responded
by rippling along the leaf-strewn margins
whispering sweet nothings
to my weary mind
Learn new words, write them down and use them, expand your vision—something isn’t just blue, it can be folded upon itself and turned into feeling and sensations.
Don’t write poems about sex, but fill a portfolio of experiences and themes, and if you cannot think of any, Twitter can give you a hundred different topics in a single hour. Take a few minutes and explore nature, politics, historical events, and even old songs.
Here is a poem by a poet I discovered on Twitter and with her permission I include it here. Thank you so much Brook for letting me use one of your wonderful works of thought and imagery.
With the right eyes
you can glide over the lambent magnetosphere
amber rose sapphire black ice
truth and beauty and the heartless nothing
beyond the veil
see city lights so far below
and still find your way home
by brook-bhagat.com Dec 2018
To sum up this article, poetry is an enjoyable and creative way of self-expression that need not be complicated, one fabulous line can touch a heart, stimulate the mind. Where writing short stories or longer fiction may seem daunting, poetry may be the format for you.
About the Author
Beth Boldman lives in Idaho and as a retired high school teacher, she enjoys writing novels and poetry. She graduated from Brigham Young University in 1986 and taught school for 27 years teaching such subjects as English, History, and Government.
She has written 20 novels, which are available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited by B.E. Boldman. She enjoys reading, music, crafting, and shopping with her sister. You can contact via email any time. Connect with Beth on Twitter.
You can read Beth’s column on the 3rd Friday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.