Lifestyle Books and Art 14 Jan 2016 Twitter improved my ...

Twitter improved my poetry: Booker winning author Ben Okri

PTI
Published Jan 14, 2016, 1:56 pm IST
Updated Jan 14, 2016, 1:56 pm IST
"I think I am officially the first or one of the first persons to have started writing poetry on Twitter," said Okri.
Man Booker prize winning author Ben Okri (Photo: Screen grab)
 Man Booker prize winning author Ben Okri (Photo: Screen grab)

Kolkata: An experiment of tweeting poetic verses helped Man Booker prize winning author Ben Okri improve his craft but the Nigerian poet and novelist now eschews the social media site claiming it fails to do justice to complex forms of literature.

"I think I am officially the first or one of the first persons to have started writing poetry on Twitter. It came naturally because both have a limited number of words and expressions but largest number of ideas. It was too tempting," Okri said during a visit to the city to attend the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF).

 

The 56-year-old said tweeting had a wonderful impact on his poetry as it compelled him to be distilled and create each line to render the maximum impact. In 2009, the Nigeria-born and London-based poet-novelist had begun an experimenting by releasing one line a day of his poem on Twitter.

"I sing a new freedom" was his first poem followed by two others. In 2012, all three of them were published in a volume of poems called "Wild".

"After this I said it was enough. It was just too limited because you can't write complex forms. Twitter is about catching the moment and making sense on a particular day as to what's happening around," he said.

 

For example, the poet points out that the second line of a poem can make more sense when one reads line 15 of the same poem.

"Twitter doesn't allow resonance. It's just the limitation of the medium. But it is a wonderful medium for trying our poetry," he said. Okri had won the Booker in 1991 for his novel 'The Famished Road' which tells the story of a spirit-child.   

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