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rob mclennan Gets Poetic on Twitter

By Harriet Staff

For a handful of modern poets, Twitter’s 140 character maximum doesn’t seem like a limit, but rather a form of boundless possibility. Poet rob mclennan recently posted a humorous little essay on Twitter to his blog, including a stream of tweets inspired by the Daily Show. For example:

17 perfect clones of Winston Churchill exist, but chose vintage car restoration over world issues #IDontHaveFactsToBackThisUp @TheDailyShow

radishes, eaten raw, have been known to grant superpowers #IDontHaveFactsToBackThisUp @TheDailyShow

Radium tastes like buttermilk #IDontHaveFactsToBackThisUp @TheDailyShow

mclennan explains…

There was an essay by Don McKay I read some time ago that talked about that “aha” moment in a poem that was the equivalent of a good joke by a stand-up comedian. In poetry, the moment where you see something familiar yet turned or twisted becomes “aha,” and yet, for a stand-up comedian, the moment becomes the punch of the joke. Just what is the difference? I’ve long wondered why there isn’t more overlap between poetry and comedy, and those poets who do introduce humour into their works, whether McGimpsey, Fiorentino, Stuart Ross or Nathaniel G. Moore, have all talked about how they feel the seriousness of their works dismissed for that same humour.

What the hell is the purpose to all of this? Self-amusement, perhaps. Watching Christine roll her eyes and groan, or even seeing just who out there on twitter responds. I mean, I half-expect David McGimpsey or Jon Paul Fiorentino to be amused by these (and they were), but Megan Burns, Kevin Matthews and Jason Christie?

Perhaps, simply another strange little writing constraint (or, “baffle,” as George Bowering calls them) to force a particular kind of writing, and to see what might be possible through the attempt. We write to see what we can come up with next. To catch that smart, peculiar twist or grand surprise or in what we’ve somehow written. Isn’t that what we’re all striving for?

Via Open Book Toronto. rob’s Twitter feed here.

Posted in Poetry News on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 by Harriet Staff.