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Iconic Author Joyce Carol Oates Equates Writing Tweets With Composing Poetry

In an interview with the Seattle Times, iconic American author Joyce Carol Oates had much to say about Twitter.

Despite her advanced age and her line of work – publishing books – Oates is a prolific tweeter with almost 34,000 followers.

In response to the Seattle Times reporter’s inquiry about why she likes tweeting, Oates had the following to say:

“Twitter is a radically new way of communicating, at least on its higher, more idealistic levels. It’s a forum for the exchange of haiku-like impressions, insights and poetry. Also a kind of broad magazine in which individuals provide links to features and videos of interest…. Writing tweets requires a discipline not unlike writing poetry, where each word, even each punctuation mark counts.”

It’s quite an elegant way to say what others have said before, that the 140-character limit that tweets impose on the writer demands pithy, authentic prose. Or, poetry.

Jennifer Egan’s novel, Black Box, was even posted on Twitter one tweet at a time. And in October 2012, Twitter hosted a five-day Twitter Fiction Festival, a virtual storytelling celebration held entirely on Twitter featuring “creative experiments in storytelling from authors around the world.”

And in conversation with Charlie Rose, Twitter co-founder Ev Williams said,

“I think we pioneered that you can say something in 140 characters. And maybe, if well done, that can be a worthwhile thing.”

Here are a few exemplary tweets from Joyce Carol Oates, demonstrating Twitter’s potential for what some might consider high art:

Do the tweets of artists like Oates help you believe in the power and positivity Twitter is capable of, as they do us? Sound off below.

(Image via Cornell.edu)

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