So it was my first poetry party on Twitter and let's be clear here, it was my first time really I wasn't just writing randomness and tweeting my blog posts. An actual set-up event with a start time 9 pm (ET) and an end time 10 pm (ET).
Deborah Ager organized the party for us. She invited D.A. Powell, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Susan Rich, January O'Neill, Collin Kelley, Oliver de la Paz, and me. It was a party even if no one showed up, which I liked.
But I'll be honest-- I was nervous. I really wasn't sure what was going to happen. Would I be the girl in the corner? Would have to change my Twitter name to: wallflower? Would I be able to keep up, understand, follow the conversation?
The answer was yes to most of those questions.
But here are a few things I learned, a couple things I did wrong, and some thoughts I had about the whole event--
1) What I did wrong: Post a tweet and forget the hashtag (#poetparty).
The minute you forget to do this, you leave the conversation. It's like making your grand statement about whatever topic in the hallway to the potted palm. Without the #poetparty hashtag, no one can hear you.
It has made me understand the answer to this profound question:
"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
Answer: Not if it doesn't have a hashtag attached to it.
The best way to follow a Twitter party is to create a saved search of the hashtag you are following (in our case #poetparty), then all the tweets just magically show up on your screen.
2) Learned: Q1 = question 1 A1 = answer 1.
This way you can go back and read specific answers to specific questions.
3) Learned: I'm kind of chatty for 140 characters.
I realized when someone asks me a question about ordering a collection of poems, my answer could not be kept in one tweet.
Instead that answer spanned 3 or 4 comments for me-- and that included major editing on my part.
4) Learned: It can seem that everyone is talking at once, but it's kind of like living in a parallel universe where conversations are taking place at the same time, but are really happening separate to each other (and yet, somehow together).
Twitter is very much the chaos theory - where there looks to be no pattern, look closer and you will see how it untangles.
5) Some thoughts-- Poets are generous people & I like the instant community showing up online.
I was appreciative of what the poets offered into the mix--answers to the questions, community, ideas--all the stuff you'd expect from friends. It was pretty cool how all of a sudden the room was filled. The idea of connecting at a certain time and people showing up.
I have never really done a chatroom, so I imagine this might be a similar thing except the whole thing in public. And I think that adds to people feeling invited and included as well as keeps people on their best behavior (which personally I liked!)
If you're interested in the whole conversation, you can a transcript read it here.
D.A. Powell wrote a poem throughout the event based on ideas, suggestions from Twitter guests at the party.
Here it is here:
October Variations/October Surprise
I come here often but nobody knows.
I'm virtually late, with late-season tomatoes
I've retrieved from the market like a faithful retriever.
I might have brought popcorn,
there's nothing out of bounds,
here on the verge of autumn .
You know that moment when the empty train tracks hum
& you think "how does this work, this sound?"
Put your ear against my veins,
against the small bones of my hands.
I want back the taste of October.
Bluejeans, flannel, the birds as they leave.
Time alone knows how beautiful it is.
With contributions by “Orphan,” @tracy_seeley, @kelliagodon, @CollinKelley, @EvelynNAlfred, @susanrichpoet, @stickpoet, @januaryoneil, @RomulusDubb, @katelinkelly, A. Mincey, Orion, A. Ottaway & Samuels
****I love the idea of this and would love to do a Twitter party just focused completely on creating. Maybe something where every Twitter post was a line to a poem either a collaborative one or an individual one. Still thinking about that.
Anyway, I will do a poetparty again. I had no idea how much fun virtual parties could be.