Little did I know that when I improvised a short poem (contained within one tweet on Twitter) back in 2009 that it would me to a regular Twitter poetry jam; editing the tweets from the jams into poems; a blog created to contain the poems; other stuff (reviews and features) being added to the blog; and then a business enterprise that goes by the name of TweetSpeak Poetry.
Currently, I’m a weekly columnist for TweetSpeak (Tuesdays) and one of the things – just one – we’re up to is beginning to get our heads around the idea of poetry and business. I do reviews of poetry books, reflections, recollections, whatever sounds interesting.
I love being a columnist.
I work with a terrific team, led by chief instigator, central plotter, primary conspirator, writer, editor, publisher, poet, mother, wife, blogger, tea expert, lighthouse climber and who-knows-what-else Laura Barkat. Laura, or L.L., is the Grand Poobah of TweetSpeak (that sounds like a title from a Gilbert & Sullivan musical opera). She has three blogs: Seedlings in Stone, Love Notes to Yahweh, and Green Inventions Central.
She’s also written a memoir, Stone Crossings; a book of spiritual exercises, God in the Yard; a book of poems, Inside/Out; and a novella, The Novelist.
The editor for TweetSpeak is Lyla Lindquist, who is not only editor but also chief publicist, social media captain, writer, promoter, columnist, book club discussion leader and skunk works leader. Lyla is here, there and everywhere, and all at once. What she’s capable of doing leaves me in awe. She blogs at A Different Story, and also has a collection of reports and meditations about weekly visits to a Benedictine monastery for six months, called Making Headroom.
Then there’s Claire Burge. Claire is young (at my age, virtually everyone I know is young) but knows everything and how to do everything. She knew about Pinterest before Pinterest knew about Pinterest. She takes beautiful photographs (I used one for the cover of my novel Dancing Priest, and will be using another for an upcoming novella), travels to exotic places, knows everything about social media, and lets nothing intimidate her. She blogs at Claire Burge.
Monica Sharman has an official title of Editorial Intern, but she’s all over poetry, all over the business of poetry, all over our poetry jams on Twitter. Monica blogs at Know-Love-Obey God about faith, family, poetry and writing. She’s also a contributing writer to online publications like Bibledude.
Tania Runyan is a columnist for TweetSpeak, and is also a published poet, with three books of poetry: A Thousand Vessels, Simple Weight, and Delicious Air. Her poems have been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies, and she received an NEA Literature Fellowship in 2011. Tania is a tutor, writer, gardener and fiddle and mando player. Her web site: Tania Runyan.
Charity Singleton, another contributing writer, is a poet, writer, blogger, and works in online media for her Midwestern employer. She blogs at Wide Open Spaces, and I have to say it’s one of my favorite blogs to read.
And then there’s my friend Seth Haines. Seth is an attorney (but a nice guy in spite of that); he and his wife Amber are raising four boys in Arkansas. Seth is a writer, poet, and sometime theologian. He writes TweetSpeak’s weekly poetry prompt on Mondays. Seth blogs at Seth Haines.
TweetSpeak Poetry is a fine group of people – and a fine group of writers. Despite its origins as a place to deposit poems from poetry jams, it has become a presence in the field of poetry, and has plans to become even more.