Wednesday, 25 March 2009


I stumbled upon the ‘FOUR LINE LONG POEM’ recently and it got me thinking, are we heading towards a succinct world? Is less, more? Or are we just getting lazier? Is brevity the new brainy? No flowery prose or verbose dialogue needed now, just tell it to me straight.


OK, so you could interpret these ‘poems’ as deep, ridiculous or just plain bizarre, but this montage of four liners is also telling of our concentration span. Tweets and Facebook updates have to be engaging enough to stop us in our tracks at least long enough to LOL back some kudos.

Perhaps this is merely the latest fashion of story telling, but currently we are actively encouraged to make clever use of limited characters. Hemingway toyed with telling a complete and very short, short story in six words, that’s 32 characters to you Twits out there. “For sale: baby shoes, never worn”, he claimed it was his best work.

The best use of Twitter I’ve seen to date aside from Towerbridge’s personable, informative and human Tweets, “I am opening for the FGS Brandenburgh, which is passing downstream.” is the creatively succinct tales of TimKeyPoet. Key manages to paint a world in a few brush strokes and leave us asking questions and frankly wanting more; “Poem#171. “I’m not marrying that pig!” I said to mother. She continued to leaf through the portfolio.”

Short, short stories are not a new phenomenon and I’m not claiming as much, but haikus must be sagely nodding at Twitter and waiting for all the fuss to die down. In the mean time it concerns me that we might lose the ability to converse in more than 140 characters.

1 comment:

jem said...

Fascinating post and a notion that interests me greatly. On one hand I agree the art of communicating succinctly is to be praised but there is a beauty in lengthy discussion that can never be replaced, in my eyes at least, by a tweet.