About ten years ago I had the great pleasure of hearing Billy Collins give a reading. During his between-poem banter, he talked about conditioning himself to listen for haiku that occur in everyday conversation. That is, listening for bits of speech that just happen to be 17 syllables in length. Fascinated, I similarly trained my own ear to recognize haiku in unexpected places.
Now that I’ve spent some time on Twitter, I’ve discovered that the 140-character limit lends itself perfectly to haiku. There are Twitter accounts that specialize in tweeting carefully-crafted haiku, but I prefer the spontaneous, accidental versions—those beautiful 17-syllable chunks of language that the tweeter doesn’t even know she’s producing.
Poets.org offers this handy primer on haiku, noting that, although many of the rules of traditional haiku have been relaxed, “the philosophy of haiku has been preserved: the focus on a brief moment in time; a use of provocative, colorful images; an ability to be read in one breath; and a sense of sudden enlightenment and illumination.”
With this ethos in mind, I’ve collected a few of my favorite accidental Twitter haiku. I hope you find them provocative, colorful and enlightening, but, mostly, I hope they make you laugh. Perhaps you’ll even be persuaded to train your own ear (or eye!) to let in the haiku that live in the wild—in everyday conversation, in text messages, on Twitter, and all around us
Check in again for more found Twitter haiku. I’ll be posting a collection of my favorites every Wednesday in January. And, come find me on Twitter!
my karma for clicking on "10 celebs with cankles"….. I was on it.
— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) December 8, 2013
All the various circumstances you might encounter when turning
— Horse ebooks (@Horse_ebooks) September 19, 2013
People getting crazy about their coupons in the supermarket
— Matthew Salesses (@salesses) November 27, 2013
WHY AM I SWEATING SO MUCH IF I'M ONLY WRAPPING PRESENTS
— Mary Charlene (@IamEnidColeslaw) December 22, 2013
i just added an upcoming poetry chapbook to my cv.
— Hobart (@hobartpulp) November 25, 2013
Whoever said "It's hip to be square" never tried BK Onion Rings.
— BurgerKing (@BurgerKing) October 23, 2013
i just said to myself, "i'm takin' a nap – i don't know about you."
— Harry Connick, Jr. (@HarryConnickJR) November 21, 2013
Confession: I've never had grits with anything other than sugar.
— Ashley Ford (@iSmashFizzle) November 24, 2013
Upstate New York needs jobs. Frack Now & Frack Fast! Pay off NY State debt.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2013
BREAKING: DEA names my gravy a Schedule I Controlled Substance.
— Jay Fanelli (@fanelli) November 28, 2013
Aubrey Hirsch is the author of Why We Never Talk About Sugar, a collection of short stories. Her work has appeared widely in journals like PANK, American Short Fiction, Hobart, Third Coast, The Pinch Journal, and elsewhere. You can learn more about her at www.aubreyhirsch.com and she tweets as @aubreyhirsch.