Monday, February 04, 2013

#hashtag #haiku 

Below is my early feeble attempts at hashtag haiku. I am mulling over the many issues involved in writing it. It was written partly as a response to the rise of "hashtags" in Twitter, and these poems were written for twitter.

A hashtag connects you instantly with its community. In the case of #ravens, #ravens would become a link and in fact lots of people check #ravens every minute; during the Super Bowl #ravens was getting 10/15 tweets a minute; in some cases "trending" hashtags get many more; so, using hashtags is a way to increase your audience. In fact, it may be the way to increase your audience, because who would want to read my drivel otherwise? Very few people, if I write haiku, but maybe the people on #haiku.

This brings up the first question. A poem in which every word is hashtagged has the advantage of establishing new communities that otherwise wouldn't be there: #on, #each, #last for example (in the case of #1). These become links to empty little places that stick around for a while until one writes another poem with #on. Another feature of poems like #1 is that they are entirely lit up, all linked, and this gets attention in a stream of tweets. Total signs, total link haiku (this topic has been broached here before). But is that good? And, alternatively, is putting a hashmark on each word putting a kind of burden on it that impedes the flow?

Poems like #3 and #4, however, just put hashmarks on the big ones, the communities where it will make a difference, on the assumption that having extra hashmarks is linking unnecessarily or pointlessly and gets in the way. Notice how your eye moves from black type to link type though; is that good? Is it ok to point out that some words are more powerful than others? That the word itself is a doorway to a community that is valuable?

Now these poems have extraneous hashtags, added at the end (as in #hashtag #haiku, in #1, #2 & #4). This goes against the law of sparingness in haiku, in which seventeen syllables is all you got and even a title is cheating in a way. My inclination is to say that #hashtag #haiku is ok but adding more makes it a gift with too much wrapping in a way, a present with several addresses on it. I'm thinking of making a separate character for hashtag haiku (rather than publishing under my own name, thomas leverett, as I do in this twitter)...perhaps calling it hashku, creating a genre, and using it, essentially, to publicize my book or anything I write.

I could also, of course, just use it to express my feelings about topics of national interest, since, of course, the world is watching. You jump into these streams, people read it. You make your haiku all lit up, they read it even more, or maybe less, as the case may be. In a sense, most tweets go down a swift river to nowhere; though on some level they're kept and relived, on another, they're just bits in the sand. Does it matter? Maybe I should find out.

#hashtag #on #each #word /
#snowshoe #on #each #mountain #stone /
#tracks #last #forever....
#hashtag #haiku

#an #NFL #team /
#named #after #poetry - #whats #this /
#about #a #murder?....
#hashtag #haiku

#hashtag #haiku - drop /
#poetry in as many /
#hashtags as you can

you got your #ravens /
they got you a #superbowl - we /
#browns fans, nevermore /
#hashtag #haiku

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