Tweet Speak Sonnets

Two weeks ago, we played a slow version of T. S. Poetry that lasted all day. We told people we were aiming to crowd source some sonnets, and I made up the dumb name of “exploding ninja poetry.” 13 people submitted 57 lines to the game, likely because it was new, and we even had John Poch, the editor of 32 Poems Magazine, drop in with a few lines.

The rules were simple, but more structured than other games we’ve played here.

1. Tweet 1-3 lines of poetry at a time throughout the day (using slash marks / to indicate line breaks).

2. End your lines with the following words, or words that rhyme with them:

wine, bread, work, hope, car

3. Each line should be 10-15 syllables roughly to approximate iambic pentameter. (This about 35-45 characters in twitter).

Here are two Italian sonnets mined from the lines you all submitted:

by @jpoch @mdgoodyear @papagoodyear
@togetherforgood @llbarkat @denadyer @mattpriour
edited by @mdgoodyear

I like the ancient miracle of wine;
because this slightly dizzy thirst, this hope
goes untested, accepted like olive oil soap
poured on my head and shoulders and spine.
All the crap goes away, eaten by mold and time,
And guitar sermons of mirrors and smoke
and pollen turned to toxic seeds of rope.
Gas us up with lead until our fuel lines
blacken, tighten, chocking each hose with char
happy harbinger of life after life after death
Orange cigarette butts, smashed cans by the curb
We will not find love by wishing on stars
but in this Merlot, lips at the sweet edge
All of us hoping, praying the offering works.

Body and Blood
by @KathleenOverby @mdgoodyear @JavaNicky @llbarkat @jpoch
@TchrEric @denadyer @JavaNicky @CherylRicker @gyoung9751
edited by @mdgoodyear

Bread is so sweet we spread butter or brine.
The first time through I thought I’d misread—
even the best magic turns gold into lead.
As evening sun reflects off glasses of wine,
find a red grape, clinging ripe to a vine.
No. Flour, water, salt, the old book said
then out of the oven pops hot crusty bread.
Your voice purple sweet sounds rose-petal fine
then the bread and the wine fulfill this whole trope
pour out our faith and all our twisted works.
We toast, we nibble, we nurture grafting scars.
Then feverishly feast and drain our cups of hope.
The bitter tannins leave us dizzy with thirst,
two sullen elect who pray, “Not too far.”

Special thanks to all who participated! If you want to try your hand at editing our lines into your own sonnet, we posted all of submitted lines sorted by poet and rhyme word at Tweet Speak Sonnets – May 2010. If you take a stab at it, be sure to post your poem online and send us a link!


  1. L. L. Barkat says

    Goodness, nAncY, you are amazing. I couldn’t even remember if those were my own lines. And now Marcus has confirmed your genius (not that we didn’t already heavily suspect your genius : )

    Marcus, I love how you do these. Thinking of doing them myself makes me tired. But I love yours. Especially the courtship one.

    I’m guessing this would get easier if we had more lines to work with? Do you think?

  2. L. L. Barkat says

    Sure, we could stick with sonnets for a while. Try to get the hang of them :) (I promise to write longer lines next time… now that I’ve read the directions :)


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