Poetry at Work: A Tweetspeak New Year’s Resolution

I can truthfully say that I’ve never made an official “New Year’s resolution.” From time to time, I have decided to do something or change something, or set a goal. But I’ve never started a new year with a resolution, or a set of resolutions, that would (in theory) guide and direct me for the coming year, or at least for two or three weeks until I break them.

Of course, never having a resolution also means never failing at one, either.

The idea of a New Year’s resolution is old. The ancient Babylonians had a tradition of making commitments at the beginning of each new year, so the idea was already old by the time the Romans picked it up. According to Stephen Kraus in Psychological Foundations of Success, about 40 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions each year. One study by the University of Bristol in 2007 suggested that about 88 percent of all New Year’s resolutions fail.

But some resolutions succeed. And I want to focus on a particular kind of resolution, one that’s not made at the beginning of the year but the kind that comes from commitment and determination. The kind that created Tweetspeak Poetry, for example.

This enterprise we call Tweetspeak Poetry has some rather humble, prosaic origins. A chance conversation between three people on Twitter one Saturday afternoon in June of 2009 led to a poetry jam on Twitter that September. We had seven people participate. I volunteered to take the tweets and shape them into poems, and I posted them on my blog. Even with only seven people, we sensed we had something unusual here, and started talking about a special site to house the poems from our Twitter jams.

And so was born Tweetspeak Poetry.

The site morphed a few times before becoming what it is today. A publishing venture called T. S. Poetry Press was created. Books were published, quality books, and they got some attention. Then, in early 2012, things became serious. We became an enterprise. L.L. Barkat assembled an editorial team; we worked out responsibilities, standing features for postings, and an editorial schedule. New offerings were developed, like Every Day Poems, WordCandy, Top Ten Poetic Picks of the week, Poetry at Work, a great Facebook page, a wonderful library of photographs to accompany our words (it takes work—a lot of work—to create and maintain a photo library), and great team of contributing writers.

No New Year’s resolution made all of this happen, but the commitment and resolution of a small group of people who believed in poetry, what they were doing, and each other… built, rebuilt, reinvented, and kept growing what is now becoming a “presence” in poetry (at 8.5 million impressions per month across all channels). And new ventures are coming – a Poetry at Work Day on Jan. 15, a new poetry workshop led by poet Anne Doe Overstreet, new books being planned, and more.

It’s easy, and easily incorrect, to say this small team is Tweetspeak Poetry. Actually, this “enterprise,” as I call it, is the people who work here and the people who come here, people who love poetry and write poetry, people who visit and interact on our Facebook page, who read and share T.S. Poetry Press books, people who laugh and commiserate with and encourage and support each other.

If we have a New Year’s resolution here at Tweetspeak Poetry, it’s to help make poetry be the important, creative and fun endeavor it should be and is and will continue to be.

We are all poetry at work.

Photograph by zoutedrop. Sourced via Flickr. Post by Glynn Young, author of the novels Dancing Priest and the recently released A Light Shining.


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  1. L. L. Barkat says

    Truly, this amazes.

    To think that everything began with a Twitter chat. May it never be said that fun and casual conversation and ease are just sideline activities when it comes to building life-changing dreams.

    Everyone should play a little more. Play makes beginnings.

  2. says

    What remains striking is how much that is so, so fine has been accomplished in so little time. Love all of you. It’s such a delight to share in this.

    “We are all poetry at work.” It could not be better said than that.

    • L. L. Barkat says

      And all from a business model that is pure fun and a whole lot of play :)

      Thanks for being part of the play, Maureen.

  3. says

    What a wonderful story – thanks so much for putting it down in this space for us to savor, Glynn. And thanks to the whole team for your continuing commitment and creativity. This space remains one of my favorites, even when I can’t keep up with all the wonderful offerings found here!

  4. says

    And what y’all have created is a thing of beauty and inspiration.

    When I do make resolutions, they are usually in the summer before the start of the real new year: Back to School. I was at church this morning, and it’s still Christmas there. That felt right.


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