Micropoetry (also known as nanopoetry or Twitter poetry) is taking the world of writing by storm. For those who don’t know, micropoetry is a very short form of poetry. The term ‘micropoetry’ encompasses many forms, but all are connected by one thing: brevity. Here are just a few types:
• 6 word story: inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s notorious challenge. The idea is to create a full story within the limit of six words.
• Haiku: a three-lined poem consisting of seventeen syllables. The first line has five syllables, the second, seven, and the third, five.
• Gogyohka: literally means ‘five-lined poem’. This type of micropoem has no fixed syllable pattern, but instead focuses on use of everyday vernacular.
• Tanka: a five-lined poem with 31 syllables. It’s characterised by its lyrical style.
• Twihaiku: a poem in 140 characters or less.
Of course, those aren’t the only kinds, but you get the idea. This recent movement is particularly popular on Twitter, with many micropoetry pages overflowing with talent from all over the world. Twitter has become a home for this type of poetry as its 140-character limit is ideal for producing short but sweet work.
I had the pleasure of talking to second year Creative Writing student Eddie Wilkins about micropoetry – something he is very talented at writing. It’s clear to see from talking to him why the movement is taking off. The passion with which he talks about his art is refreshing and can’t help but make you want to go home and scroll through the #micropoetry tag on Twitter.
Hi, Eddie, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. What got you into writing micropoetry?
It was an organic process. In poetry anthologies there’s generally a lot of different styles and I always enjoyed the short forms. It’s quite modern, although I do like the traditional Japanese styles like the Haiku.
Do you prefer writing micropoetry to anything else?
I do prefer the short form. I find it incredibly difficult to write long form work. I’m a bitter perfectionist so it’s more economical with time to write short form.
Why do you think the movement is so popular?
I think it’s because of social media. We can be drip-fed poetry, and you can get it in tiny doses with instant gratification.
How do you find trying to get a point across in such a short space?
The brevity of language increases the clarity because it requires more precision. Because it’s so brief, you’re hyper aware of the point you’re trying to make.
What sort of themes do you write about?
I don’t really approach my poetry thematically. I either get an idea or a melody and go from there.
Where do you think the future for micropoetry lies?
I think short-short poetry is a vital resource. I can see poetry going that way and a general resurgence in poetry in general.
Do you stick to the set forms in micropoetry or go for more freeform?
There’s a place for both. A lot of the style is freeform, but there are traditional forms. These are more complex, though. I think it’s the mark of a good poet to be able to stick to the rules of traditional forms.
And finally, do you have any recommendations for micropoets and for those who are unacquainted with the style?
There’s Matsuo Basho, a traditional Haiku poet. A modernist poet would be William Carlos Williams and then a more recent poet would be Gabby Bess.
Eddie is currently working on an anthology of poetry which he is hoping to publish in his third year. Here’s a selection of his work to read in the meantime:
Life is buffering.
Shouldn’t we be progressing?
Colouring within the lines.
“Do you kids know what time it is?”
Time to come inside,
drop the toys,
down the tools,
leave our suburbs
reillustrate my charcoal lines
make me like you.
If you’re interested in finding out more about micropoetry, visit micropoetry.com or visit Mark Holloway @forgottenworks or Kris Lindbeck @krislindbeck on Twitter.