Twitter Haiku Practice, by Susan J. Tweit

Susan Tweit’s currently working on two book proposals. One is on the theme of using-nature-to-fire-your-creativity. She’s using her haiku practice as an exercise. The post below tells us more about why she writes haiku on Twitter.

Read more of Susan’s haiku on Riehlife-Poem-of-the-day. Read more about Susan’s work below.




“Why post haiku on Twitter?” When my new “media guru” harassed me into giving Twitter a try, I wondered what in the world I had to say that not only lent itself to the limitation of 140 characters, but would add something of value to the Twitter stream.

I’m not a celebrity, so no one cares what I had for breakfast (I certainly don’t care to tweet it!). I’m not a newshound fascinated by passing along breaking news; I’m not even particularly social. So I wouldn’t be chatting via regular tweets. What in the world could I say?

Eventually, it dawned on me: I could use Twitter as part of my daily writing practice. But how?

Haiku, a form of three-line poetry that originated in Japan centuries ago and might have been invented with Twitter’s 140-character limit in mind. The “rules” of haiku are actually quite complex, but these simple guidelines give a sense of the form: The framework is roughly 5-7-5, five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, five in the third–but without forcing the syllables to fit. The line breaks should be natural breaks or punctuation in the haiku.

Haiku focuses on a moment in nature or the seasons, always referencing the time of year and often the place; it’s not focused on human emotion or our inner lives. For example:

Days warm and sprouts emerge
tiny green dots on dark soil
like spring’s confetti

I began putting up a daily haiku on Twitter and Facebook. As readers (followers/friends) found my haiku and began to comment and ask questions, and best of all to write their own haiku, I realized why the practice was so satisfying: haiku is a way to use the virtual world of social networking to broadcast awareness of the very real world where we live: nature, place, season, and the fleeting beauty of the moment.

When I post a haiku on Twitter, it is like sending out an electronic locator beacon broadcasting a signal from a specific place, a specific time, a specific detail of nature and my awareness of it. In a sense, I am using the virtual world of Twitter to foster awareness of the real world, the living Earth that is our home, our refuge and renewal.


Follow Susan Tweit on Twitter.
and Facebook. Read her excellent blog Walking Nature Home.

I met Susan through Women Writing the West, and went on to know her through Story Circle Network. She’s an author, journalist, writing coach, workshop leader, and more than one can list. Read more about Susan below.

Susan is a biologist who “evolved” into an award-winning writer. Susan says that she is “dedicated to reviving human’s terraphilia, our innate affection for and connection to Earth and its community of lives.”

Her most recent book, Walking Nature Home, A Life’s Journey has been hailed as “a graceful and moving memoir” and “a brave, beautiful and necessary book.”

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