Tuesday, 28 December 2010

One Stop Spotlight - Roary Williams aka @CoyoteSings

Roary Williams is one of the poets I met on twitter when he re-tweeted one of my haikus. I had a look at his profile and blog "My dreams move slowly" and immediately fell in love with his poem "The Reason: for poets who have lost their way." Written in such a warm-hearted and sensitive way, it just touched my soul and I think most poets can very much relate to his words.

After following and contacting him, I found out that he has a big heart for micropoetry spread through twitter. Below, he will tell us more about his vision of using twitter as a platform for poetry, encouraging other poets and collecting twitter-poetry. I can highly recommend following him on twitter (@CoyoteSings). He will brighten up your day with the micropoetry he's spreading.

But first, enjoy a few of his poems...I won't tell you how often I've read "The Reason: for poets who have lost their way"... no, I won't...

~ Claudia

"The Reason: for poets who have lost their way"

All these poets, doing battle in their chairs,
Writing about cherry blossoms, and crows,
and gentle birds maybe flying, maybe singing,
maybe doing nothing at all
except looking pretty.

Writing about the sun, the moon, and each individual star
as if they all had names and meaning, and could talk back to us.

Writing about love, and more love, and even more love
until there is so much love we have to rent
an extra warehouse to store it all in.

Writing about beautiful melancholy, and glorious depression,
as if those things were some sort of beautiful smack
that made men keen and women swoon.

Writing about the curious, writing about the mundane,
Writing writing writing until the seats of their chairs
are stained with black spots of words.

Writing as if their lives depended on it (they don’t).
Writing as if the world needed to hear them (it doesn’t).

Writing on behalf of all humanity,
Writing on behalf of themselves,
Writing because the world is spinning
and they can’t figure out
where or when
to get off.

Writing about death,
Writing about almost dying,
Writing about death in the first, second, and third person,
from behind the fourth, fifth, and sixth wall…

And then…

a million words later, growing through the rubble,
this beautiful daisy smiles, and bows her head and says

“Thank you for thinking of me. I was sure you all had forgotten.”

and then she holds up her roots like a prom dress
and scurries off giggling, as if she were late
for a birthday party, leaving dirt
all over my desk.



broken glass
this sun
that shines through you


I could not
find the words
so silence
found them
for me


I said it
in three words
you said it
with your eyes


first frost
all the stars
the night left on my lawn


stars hanging on trees
trees hanging on stars
silent night


sparrows fly out of my poems
and I have to chase them down
and put them
into another poem


this desert monk
who needs no water
sits waiting
for his one flower


in the dead of night
the remote conversations
of neighborhood dogs


my heart
this insistent hawk
I cannot keep down
though I stand
two feet on the ground


I trade sparrows
for company
and leftover


© Roary Williams (@CoyoteSings)

About Roary:

I live in central New Mexico, in the high desert, and have lived here since 1989. I grew up in Detroit, Michigan however. While most people on Twitter know me as a poet (I like to call myself a micropoet), I have spent more of my life as a musician. I play and write on my keyboards, which are synthesizers, but I grew up on a baby grand piano. I also played classical violin for eight years as a youth, and was in a local symphony.

But I've written poetry since I was a kid. My main influence for writing poetry is e. e. cummings. I honestly have not read many other poets, except what I came across in school. I loved cumming's use of words, punctuation, but mostly his unique ideas. Considering he was writing in the 50's, I always thought he was a poet who really broke ground in his words.

I love the idea of poetry on Twitter, and see micropoetry as a rebirth of the older Japanese poetry, such as haiku, senryu, and tanka. In the earlier times of Japanese poetry, they wrote socially, and form and content was followed strictly. It was a way for the people to connect. I see this reborn in the micropoetry of Twitter, where people connect with their poetry in an electronic social media. While much less strict, forms are still followed, albeit nothing like the traditional Japanese forms. I see myself and other micropoets as pioneers, of a sort, reinventing poetry in mostly 140 characters or less. Links to longer poetry are often ignored, but the micropoetry that finds itself into tweets is read voraciously, and through the function of retweets, talented poets are read by many people. The micropoets of Twitter often inspire each other, and work off of each other in a way that, before Twitter, was not done with the lightning speed it is done now. An idea, a theme can spread like wildfire and you can have 20 micropoets relating to each other in just a few hours, even sometimes a few minutes. Poetry has taken a resurgence on Twitter, and I think it is phenomenal.

Before I started writing micropoetry, I wrote mostly essays, and believe it or not, mostly about ferrets, posting to the Ferret Mailing List as an advocate for ferrets. I also, for a short time, wrote Bridge greetings which are short stories written about real ferrets who have died, written in order to comfort their keepers (I don't like to use the word "owners"). Ferret keepers whose ferrets had died took great comfort in the stories of their ferrets making it to the Bridge, a sort of in-between place where ferrets wait for their keepers to claim them in the afterlife. While the stories were imaginary, the ferrets and keepers were very real, dealing with difficult emotions. Writing those greetings put me very much in tune with my own deep-seated emotions, and I think it is one of the reasons that I write poetry like I do.

And while I sometimes fantasize about getting my words published, I am more connected with the idea of people on Twitter reading them almost immediately after I write them. Even if I were a published poet, I would not get the feedback and emotional response in the same way that I get it from Twitter. It also ties me, not to just readers of poetry, but to many, many other micropoets as well. It is like the micropoets of Twitter are one living, breathing organism, reading and writing words. I have found much respect amongst the micropoets I write with, and I feel respect for all of them who bravely put their words out there. It is not always such an easy thing to do, to instantaneously wear your heart on your sleeve in front of sometimes thousands of people.

Over the last 14-16 months, I have done quite a bit to encourage the micropoets, and for a long time I collected their words on blogs I created to archive them, namely the Dragonfly Collection and the Dragonfly Archives:


It occurred to me that all this poetry I found on Twitter was just disappearing, and I wanted to preserve it the best I could. Unfortunately, archiving all the poetry worth saving was a near impossible task, simply overwhelming with 1500+ tweets of poetry being written a day. Even with the help of a lovely lady named Jenny (@gennepher, from Wales), I was not able to sustain it, although we kept it up for over eight months. School and work finally took their toll.

I wanted the micropoets on Twitter to know that their words were important, that what they worked so hard to create meant something. In my unique position, collecting micropoetry, I watched poets come and go, and watched their words and styles of writing evolve over time. I loved that aspect of it. I think it made me a better poet.

To me, micropoetry is more about the community and connections of the poets than anything else. I hope to continue writing on Twitter for a long time to come.


Anonymous said...

Lovely post about Roary. :) Indeed, I was included in the Dragonfly Collection/Archives, which was so heartfelt (I never even expected it!). What is best about Roary is that he believed in poets and their talents and continuously, even tirelessly promoted our work. It's amazing to see hundreds and hundreds of micropoems a day on Twitter during those months.

Claudia, you shone a bright light on Roary. I can't think of a better poet who deserves this recognition! Plus, his work continues to blossom. :)

the walking man said...

"Writing as if their lives depended on it (they don’t).
Writing as if the world needed to hear them (it doesn’t)."

Loved these lines. This is, in my understanding, the epiphany moment in the life of a poet.

Detroit is still here if you want to come back. It's a little different than it was 20 odd years ago, but it is after all, Detroit.

I like the idea of micro-poetry, stripping all of the excess verbiage (baggage) from a thought. Though the eastern traditional (Japanese esp.) forms lends itself to this idea well because of the stricture of the styles, few except the very well studied even know the names of the styles much less the rules of them.

In English it is rarer to find one who knows those rules. This brings to mind the professional life long animus between Frost and Sandburg.

But no I ain't going there twittering. I will keep looking for...well whatever the hell it is I am looking for and finding a portion of it not constrained by a space count.

LauraX said...

Interesting post! I am not a "twitter" bug or whatever one calls a person who uses twitter...I'm of a slightly older generation, I guess, but I love this concept of micropoetry on twitter...and although I can understand wanting to preserve it...there is something quite beautiful about writing something...sending it out into the universe for a day or so and then allowing it to fade like a day lily...a gift that briefly blossoms and inspires those who pass by and enjoy its color, fragrance, form.

Your poems are wonderful Roary, I look forward to checking out your sites.

gentle steps

dustus said...

Wow! "The Reason: for poets who have lost their way" is a poignant reminder of how we can lose sight of what is important. In addition, Roary makes excellent points about the merit of Twitter as a free platform to share micro-poetry, artistic ideas, and support. The immediacy of such interactions among artists, in addition to the dynamic camaraderie that continues to form——truly inspiring. Thank you, Roary. It was great to learn more about you and your work. Excellent post, Claudia

Pete Marshall said...

i also loved the lines

"Writing as if their lives depended on it (they don’t).
Writing as if the world needed to hear them (it doesn’t)."

thanks for throwing another great spotlight on another great writer...cheers pete

Heather Grace Stewart said...

Thanks for featuring Roary--such an excellent writer--I look forward to following his blog. What a great way to start a new year.

moondustwriter said...

Roary you do make a difference on Twitter daily - your keep us all communication thru micropoetry. I've seen love scenes enacted as well as everyday scenarios written as poems between tweeps. keep it up my friend and thanks for being here to share at One Stop

Moon hugs

katrin said...

Hi, i went to 'my dreams move slowly' and loved the poetry there too. But how do i leave a comment? and what is tumbler. I do not need another account of somesort. just would like to comment :) thanks