Rhythm and Rhyme: How to Find the Poetry in Everyday Tweets

Some people like to say that there’s little literary value on the internet — especially on places like Twitter, where messages have to be cut short. People are too busy “lol”-ing and abbreviating, shunning the poetic language we found in those handwritten letters of days past. But if you look in the right places, Twitter is full of poetry.

Poetry of meaning is easy to find in a lot of places on Twitter. Perhaps predictably, the Dalai Lama’s account regularly releases tweets that convey simple truths in beautiful ways:

Then there are plenty of accounts that are more explicit about releasing what we consider poetry. As demonstrated by a particularly innovative theater company, Twitter can be a live venue for poetry: Such Tweet Sorrow acted out Romeo and Juliet via tweets last year.

Another example of pure poetry on Twitter is the account that regularly quotes former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, @bccollinspoetry. Although these tweets usually only provide snippets of his whole poems, it’s amazing to see how just a line or two can really communicate a beautiful idea or stir a reader in some way. Sometimes, cropping poetry becomes an art in itself.

Many Twitter accounts are associated with the arts, and therefore poetry crops up often — art-minded people produce art-minded tweets. The account for the Tate’s St. Ives museum, for example, released this tweet this week:

We can also expand our idea of poetry to include anything that is music to our ears. Twitter is thoroughly customizable, so you can follow people who will tweet things that just sound lovely to you. Are you a food lover? Perhaps Paula Deen’s tweet about a delicious southern staple, fried green tomatoes, will add a little poetry to your day.

Not every poet has to be epic and long. And perhaps blogging is to The Odyssey as tweeting is to haikus. As long as people keep communicating their ideas in a variety of ways, poetry will thrive on the internet.