article, poetry, Twitter poetry

Fields of Red 4


102 365A (very) short primer on editing tweets from our Twitter poetry parties:

Editing the tweets of anywhere from 10 to 20 people posted over an hour, and turning them into recognizable poems, can often be a challenge. Some participants do a kind of rapid response to the prompts; others ponder and consider, and then add a line or two.

So you don’t pay too much attention to the order of the tweets, instead looking for themes, common words and phrases, and parallel ideas. You group related tweets together, and then the editing begins in earnest. Some words are shaved; a few get deleted while another small number get inserted. Occasionally two separate tweets are joined together. Sometimes a phrase is pulled from one tweet and added to another. And all the while you’re trying to stay as close as possible to the original contributions.

It’s work, yes, but it’s also great fun. There’s one additional bonus: you gain insights into the creative processes of the individual participants.

At our recent Twitter poetry party, where the prompts were taken from The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems by Pablo Neruda, the tweets took a turn toward rooftops, wine, ambrosia, flowers and ants. Ants?

Here are six additional poems from the party. We will post the final six on Thursday afternoon.

Fields of Red

By @llbarkat, @sethhaines, @chrisyokel, @lauraboggess, @mmerubies, @annkroeker, @meganwillome, @lwlindquist, @gmthul and @morningglorydlc. Edited by @gyoung9751.

Drunken Rooftops

Drunken rooftops stumble into basements.
Coral hedges say, “Let us stagger suburbia
to its knees.” White tile, coral spill. And
my hunger is on its knees.

The goddess appears inside of me; she grips
my gut and sends the words forward, desperate
spilling across white tile, washed with a golden
twined mop, coral dreams and obscured stars,
forgotten coral crisp layered deep, catches prism
of sun through deep.


Where are the ants? The coral ants?
Layered drunk upon drunk.
It is the fault of the ants.
Ants are life, wild and uniform.


It is the earth’s ambrosia,
now alarming. “Ambrosia!”
cry the rooftops. And the grass
rises, every blade bearing
an ant, bearing a cup.

Adjust the words to cover
the drunken rooftop. We
cannot cover the drunken rooftop.
This is the realm of the poet.

Sew me a uniform of ambrosia.
Let it be peach. Ginger. Sugar.
Let it fit every curve.

Ambrosia is for goddesses.
I hunger for gold, scarlet,
and silver words, ambrosia
of the goddess.

Choral of man,
sing of the goddess,
who makes the grass rise
with every spring birth.
Then call me a goddess,
and let’s begin.


Purple wildflowers take over the grass;
The red, the gold, the floss is tangled
in the poppies sprouting between the pearls.
Scarlet King, bleeding love drops…crimson
tale of breaking heart, his world colored
in humanity hues of flesh tones.

Needle, thread

Take the needle, take the thread;
make your stitches deep across
her breast make them count
silver thread turned scarlet.

Needle, thread. Sew me a chorale
I can clasp. Russian violinist
please play me with your bow
sew me in your song
with golden thread.

Seams of Coal

My uncle mined coal.
My Grandpa mined coal.
I can honor them best by
mining lumps of poetry
from deep within my soul.

When you mine coal
the tunnel is no bigger
than the seam so you slide
down skinny shafts and pray
just pray.

Coal seams, my seams are
slowly coming apart. Drunk
on words, I stumble up to bed
alarm dread alive inside
before I even close my eyes.

Photograph by Claire Burge. Used with permission. Post by Glynn Young, author of Dancing Priest: A Novel


Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $2.99— Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In March we’re exploring the theme Angels.

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Your Comments

12 Comments so far

  1. L. L. Barkat says:

    I love that quick, humorous question…

    Ants? :)

    Totally made me smile. Yes, one never knows where a Twitter night will end up!

    I also love that it was the fault of the ants :)

  2. That first stanza of “Needle, thread” really resonates.

  3. Appreciate this brief peek behind the curtain, Glynn. It must be something of an aging process, after some nights, to pull this into what you do. ;-)

  4. Glynn says:

    Lyla – are you referring to my aging? Or the tweets aging? (or both?)

    I usually do a quick scan of the entire set of tweets – looking for the key words and phrases, and highlighting the prompts. Then I read. Then I let it age.

    I, however, don’t age. Baby Boomers live forever.

  5. “sew me a chorale i can clasp…” there are so many beautiful lines here. i’m in awe.

  6. Well, I think I was projecting, Glynn. I would age ten years with every attempt.

    I got gray just now, even thinking of the prospect.

    (And I just barely snuck into the Boomer generation. My end of it seems to age just fine. ;-)

  7. Heather says:

    So lovely. And it was fun to glimpse your process.

  8. Kelly Sauer says:

    Oh I simply love “Wildflowers” – I’m so bummed to have missed this party! Here’s hoping for Thursday, eh?

  9. laurie kolp says:

    This sounds like fun! I like how they all seem to interconnect. I especially like the last stanza of the final piece.

  10. laura says:

    Lovely editing, as usual, Glynn! The ants are perhaps my favorite too. So. Much. Fun.

  11. Glynn, it’s fun knowing how you knit these poems together. Thanks for the glimpse into the editing process. One of these days (Thursday? maybe? I hope?), I’ll be able to join the fun :)


  1. The Art of Immigration | TweetSpeak Poetry - July 26, 2012

    [...] He’d rip up Form B4 and move on to the more pressing questions. “What’s Glynn really like?” he’d want to know. “And how in the world does he edit those unruly Tweetspeak Poets?” [...]

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