Text Message Poetry: A New Poetic Form?

This morning, I was contemplating different poetry delivery methods, thinking of the obvious ones first: print books, chapbooks, journals, broadsides, websites, blogs, e-mail, PDFs, CDs, DVDs, etc. And finally, I thought of text messaging.

On my cell, one page is defined as 160 characters, and I’m unable break my lines. So I started wondering if there might be a cool new poetic form to play with on a Tuesday morning. Of course, without line breaks, these would be miniature prose poems on any topic under the sun.

One additional rule that could be added (to help give these focus) is that they should deliver some message.

So to recap the rules: Poem must be 160 characters or less and deliver some message (and yes, a message could be delivered in one word).

Here’s my quick attempt (at around 150 characters):

A boy and girl raced each other along the sidewalk this morning waiting for the school bus to pick them up. The days are growing short and shorter.

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22 thoughts on “Text Message Poetry: A New Poetic Form?

  1. Jolanta Laurinaitis

    im sory bt i think we shld c other ppl i will alwys luv u n u were very spesh 2 me. i just cnt bare 2 hear u cry, so pls dont call just give me tym 😡

  2. S.E. Ingraham

    Amy – well put! Except for the beginning of the end; I think it may be the middle of the end as far as the spelling and grammar thing goes. The education system in Canada is shoving kids out of secondary (high school) who are functionally illiterate. It makes me sad when reading and writing are so low on the educational priority list. I don’t believe a person can truly be well-rounded if they don’t have a basic understanding of the fundamentals. IMHO. nsaynne

  3. Mattos da Costa

    Here is an example of a Lurve Text.

    "Mine love is for thine heart and I hope thine love is mine as well. Beat me to it, let’s take us through it. Friday Night at Mel’s. I’d give you exes but since you’re better, I also give the why and zee."

  4. Amy Barlow Liberatore

    Robert and all,

    Text messaging is an art form that requires lots and lots of encoded lettering. ROLF is "rolling on floor laughing," for example.

    I predict two outcomes from our kid’s obsession with text messaging:
    1. They will all have carpal tunnel syndrome within seven years of having a textable phone, and,
    2. It’s the beginning of the end of spelling and grammar in general as we know it!

    Amy (poetmomskas.blogspot.com is my blog)

  5. Iain D. Kemp

    my thumbs numb with luv 4 u. hv 2 txt u day & nite cos can’t c u
    say u luv me 2 or go insane must go now got a call waiting txt u l8ter g8ter be sweet my petit c u mwah!

    I text loads and in 2 languages… abbreviated text-speak i spanish is weirder!


  6. Robert Brewer

    That’s right! I totally don’t text enough, or I’d know to get the words down to single letters and numbers.

    2 b or not 2 b. (Boy, would Shakespeare dig texting!)

  7. Natasha Ramsey

    Minority female immigrant ur a triple strike! Sigh will our outsides ever not rule our feelings on the inside? Left without a fight. This is my poetic aside

  8. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    I don’t use cell phone except in direst emergencies. Do use Twitter and sometimes make tweet poems (up to 140 characters). Here’s the latest:

    Desert man, u write v th sea. What wd u know? At last, aftr 2 lovg yrs, I find myslf irritated. Its end v wintr here. Stick yr perfct haiku.

  9. Carla Cherry

    For Ted Kennedy

    He’ll be back, he promised, to make health care a right for every American. I stared at the bald half of his perfectly coiffed white hair, and prayed he would.


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