“32 Facts About the Number Thirty Two” as it appears on the back of 32 Poems magazine.

Twitter is a great place for poetry.

Not only is the short form of the messages (140 characters or less) conducive to the concision of the poetic craft, but the platform allows for the growth of connections and a network of poets in what is otherwise a lonely pursuit.

Twitter also allows for easier connections between writers and literary magazines.

Among the more active journals on Twitter is 32 Poems. Edited and published by poet Deborah Ager out of Hyattsville, MD, @32Poems is also is the host of the weekly “Poet Party” (#poetparty), which takes place Sunday nights (9-10 PM ET) on Twitter.

Some time ago, then associate editor Caroline Crew issued a challenge to fellow poet Twitter followers to use the number 32 in a poem.

At the prompting of Richard Fenwick, another poet I’ve gotten to know through the medium, I took up the challenge and wrote a poem called “32 Facts About the Number Thirty-Two.” The poem was published on the back of the Fall/Winter 2011 issue of 32 Poems (see photo at left).

Here is my poem, “32 Facts About the Number Thirty-Two”:

1.) 32 is not envious of 33 because it is surrounded by mystery on the back of a Rolling Rock beer bottle.

2.) 32 is the smallest number n with exactly 7 solutions to the equation [Phi] φ(x) = n.

3.) The Curtiss T-32 Condor II was a 1930s American biplane and bomber aircraft used by the U.S. Army Air Corps for executive transport.

4.) Year 32 (XXXII) was a leap year.

5.)  Jesus is said to have been crucified in Year 32.

6.) The country code “32” is forBelgium. (You could call Hercule Poirot, if he weren’t fictional.)

7.) 32 is the new 23.

8.) 32 is the number of piano sonatas by Beethoven, completed and numbered.

9.) 32 degrees is the freezing point of water at sea level in Fahrenheit.

10.)  There are 32 Kabalistic Paths of Wisdom. (Which is Madonna on?)

11.)  32 is the atomic number of the chemical element germanium (Ge), which is to say 32 is the number of protons found in the nucleus of its atom.

12.)  32 is the number of teeth in a full set of an adult human if the wisdom teeth have not been extracted.

13.)  32-bit is the size of a databus in bits.

14.)  The Route 32 bus in Philadelphia will take you from Roxborough to CenterCity.

15.)  32 is the number of pages in the average comic book, excluding the cover wrap.

16.)  Number 32 is for Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin McHale, Karl Malone, Magic Johnson, Dr. J, Sandy Koufax, Steve Carlton, Claude Lemieux, Marcus Allen, Jim Brown, and Franco Harris.

17.)  There are 32 traditional counties in Ireland, which were formed between the late 1190s and 1607.

18.)  “Thirty-two Short Films About Glenn Gould” is a film divided into thirty-two short films, thereby mimicking the thirty-two part structure of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations,” a recording of which Gould made famous or which made Gould famous.

19.)  The thirty-two-bar form is popular especially among Tin Pan Alley songwriters and in rock & roll.

20.)  “Deuce Coupe” is a slang term referring to the 1932 Ford coupe. “Little Deuce Coupe” was a pop song written in the 32-bar form by The Beach Boys.

21.)  In the 32-bar form, each chorus is made up of four eight-bar sections.

22.)  Some yogis believe there are 32 bars of energy running through our heads storing the electromagnetic component of all the thoughts, ideas, attitudes, decisions, and beliefs that we have ever had about anything.

23.)  32 is 40 % of 80.

24.)  “Thirty-two Kilos” is a series of photographs by Ivonne Thein, in which she altered images of models to make them look anorexic, as if they weighed only 32 kilos (70 lbs.).

25.)  According to the Urban Dictionary, “b-thirty-two” is one of the most dangerous and rapidly growing gangs in Bensonhurst,Brooklyn, and originally started on Bay 32nd St.

26.)  I have had a 32-inch waist since 1982.

27.)  By pregnancy week 32, an average baby weighs 3.75 pounds and is about 16.7 inches long.

28.)  Nobody ever says “32-skidoo.”

29.) Psalm 32 begins “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.”

30.)  Title 32 of the U.S. code outlines the role of the National Guard and allows members of the Guard to serve as law enforcement in their respective states.

31.)  A beheaded body can make 32 steps, according to a legend involving King Ludwig of Bavaria in 1336.

32.)  According to Microsoft Word, this poem is divided into 32 paragraphs, although I prefer to call them stanzas.

–Scott Edward Anderson

I first became aware of the Scottish poetry journal Anon through some of the poets I follow on Twitter (most of whom I’ve included in my poetry list, which you can follow too here.

Anon is edited by poet and social media producer Colin Fraser and Peggy Hughes, who works at the wonderful Scottish Poetry Library.

One cool thing about Anon is its format, which is reminicent of those old Penguin Classic paperbacks.  The other is its completely anonymous submissions process.

The editors do not know the names of the poets whose work they are considering — and they never know the names of the poets they are rejecting.  As the Anon tagline proudly proclaims it, “We don’t care who you aren’t…”

I submitted a few poems to the magazine last year, including one poem I’d written in Alaska over a dozen years before called “Midnight Sun.”  The poem got picked and appeared in Anon 7.

Here’s what one reviewer, writing in the journal Sabotage, said about that issue of  Anon:

“Anon Seven is an effervescent production, its poems spanning the world: from Dave Coates’ transfigured, strangely threatening ‘Leith’ (on the magazine’s doorstep, since Anon is produced in Edinburgh), to the detailed, tender surveillance of Lake Illiamna, Alaska, which Scott Edward Anderson undertakes in ‘Midnight Sun’. Its strengths lie in variety, and particularly in the sheer invention and craft of certain poems – sometimes, even, of especially successful lines, such as the opening of Richard Moorhead’s ‘I Shot A Bird’, which breaks upon the reader with a brash insistence that ‘Everyone should try some killing’.”

Here is my poem, “Midnight Sun”:


Midnight Sun

at approximately 59° 45′ N Latitude, 154° 55′ W Longitude


Each night,

I watch the sun set

over Lake Illiamna

through the willows.

How physical,

the names of willows:

Bebb and Scouler,

feltleaf, arctic, undergreen—

names ill-suited for their frail appearance.

And how palpable the story,

told by the black-capped chickadee

about the four bears who come

each night to the village,

linger for a couple of hours,

then vanish.

As the bird now vanishes

from atop the satellite dish

outside the room at Gram’s B&B.

He leaves behind

a white remembrance,

which disturbs the signal

coming from Anchorage,

interrupting a program about

the formation of the Hawaiian Islands,

and sending ripples of multi-colored “snow”

swirling into TV screen volcanoes.

While back outside,

midsummer sun barely sets on the village,

angling over sparse willows

and spruce, bentgrass and sweetgale,

perhaps twinflower, although

verifying the presence of that species

may require a second look.

A second look, which the sun

will suggest, upon its return

four and one-half hours from now.

That is when the BLM surveyors arrive

on their ATVs (whatever the weather

and whether they’re foolish or clever),

to verify yesterday’s measurements,

as they do each morning,

in this village of willows

and midnight sun.


–Scott Edward Anderson


Order copies of Anon — or better yet, a subscription — here: Anon

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Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

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Monday is the 5th anniversary of the first Tweet, sent by @jack, founder of the 140-character communication service.

It’s also World Poetry Day, a coincidence that did not go unnoticed by the New York Times this weekend (read, if the Old Gray Lady‘s new paywall hasn’t gone up, the story here.

The Times even commissioned new Twitter poems by four well-known bards for the occasion. (You can tell they aren’t really users of the service.)

Twitter has been a great outlet for poets almost since the beginning.  As the Times points out, the constraints of the service are perfect for haiku or a loose approximation of the form.  The poet and editor @poeticmindset even has a poetry challenge called the #haikuthrowdown.

Here is a list of some of the poets on Twitter, compiled by Collin Kelly, and a Twitter list of poets, presses, libraries, and poetry lovers that I curate.

Some of us sprinkle poetry into our every day Twitterstream, whether linking to poems we love, poems we’re reading, or poems we are working on. The journal 32 Poems hosts a #poetparty on Sunday evenings at 9PM ET, which brings together poets from around the world.

I was an early adopter of Twitter, thanks to Fred Wilson, who got me hooked several years ago, and have often shared poetry or poetic observations among my regular tweets @greenskeptic.

Here’s a sampling from a few summers ago, which I pulled together into a poem sequence:

TwitterVerse, or 12 Micropoems Composed on Twitter

1.      Cloudy morning in the mountains. A murder of crows cleaning up last night’s messes.  (10:22 AM August 21, 2008 from TwitterBerry)

2.      Tent caterpillars attacking the sourwood trees. Crape myrtle taken off like dismembered figureheads.  (07:28 PM August 21, 2008 from TwitterBerry)

3.      Darkness falls, misty fog in the mountains. Night of oppossum and opacity.  (09:37 PM August 21, 2008 from TwitterBerry)

4.      A bat hits the plate glass window, sonar ignoring proximity. Breathlessness of all that is fragile.  (11:47 PM August 21, 2008 from TwitterBerry)

5.      Pair of late-nesting goldfinch at the feeder: she’s telling him to watch his cholesterol; he’s rolling his eyes. (10:18 AM August 22, 2008 from TwitterBerry)

6.     Periwinkle clouds and forest green mountains sandwich a raspberry jam-colored sky. (09:22 PM August 22, 2008 from TwitterBerry)

7.     The female house finch must be jealous of her more resplendent husband; especially when she’s mistaken, in passing, for passer domesticus. (10:56 AM August 23, 2008 from TwitterBerry)

8.      The edges of darkness are drier than kiln dried wood. Even moths are logy, drought sucking moisture from papery wings. Where is the rain?  (01:15 AM August 24, 2008 from TwitterBerry)

9.      Morning: a rose red dawn, hush of newsprint, and whispers between the chair and its ottoman.  (11:07 AM August 24, 2008 from TwitterBerry)

10.  The blue jay glances around before he screeches; as if to make sure no one will throw a bad tomato, sneaker, or tin can. Comedian or poet?  (03:01 PM August 24, 2008 from TwitterBerry)

11.  House of whispers, try playing a different game tonight. All your old plays are recorded and discarded. Creaks diminish with every footfall.  (01:47 AM August 25, 2008 from TwitterBerry)

12.  Rain at last, but not enough to soak the grass or slake the thirst of trees or titmice. Fay does not show herself, cloud-veiled.  (10:17 AM August 25, 2008 from mobile web )

–Scott Edward Anderson

(Twitter: greenskeptic)

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Side Portrait of the poet Edwin Morgan, aged 8...
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The great Scottish poet Edwin Morgan passed away nearly two weeks ago and the tributes and accolades have continued throughout the Edinburgh Book Festival that’s just ended.

I’ve been fortunate to follow much of it via Twitter, having connected with such wonderful poets and poetry lovers as @ByLeavesWeLive, @OneNightStanzas, and @craftygreenpoet among others, who have made me feel like I was there alongside them, paying my respects.

Morgan was a remarkably gifted poet, and gifted not only in the sort of conventional sense of the word.  I mean he had an incomparable ear for the rich variety and breadth of poetry that one rarely sees in this day of specialization and of literary “camps.”

Morgan saw the magical in the ordinary and wasn’t about to limit himself by the constraints of either subject matter or style.  He could be funny, such as “The First Men on Mercury,” but he was equally adept when he turned his hand at tender, more traditional love poems.

One of my favorites — probably my favorite Morgan poem — is “Strawberries,” which you can read in its entirety at the Edwin Morgan Archives at the Scottish Poetry Library.

For now, I’ll just quote the ending, which is stunning even without mention of the strawberries or the scene between two lovers:

let the sun beat

on our forgetfulness
one hour of all
the heat intense
and summer lightning
on the Kilpatrick hills

let the storm wash the plates

–Edwin Morgan

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