CHALLENGE: CAN YOU WRITE ABOUT NOTHING? and…THE WORLD'S SHORTEST POEM

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This is a challenge I sometimes challenge my writing students to do:

Can you write about ABSOLUTELY NOTHING?

Is it possible?

What happens when you try?

Is the thing that you create REALLY about nothing?

 

Or is it always about SOMETHING no matter how small?

Is about the writing?

Is it about the voice?

Is it about the way the writing is, its “writingness’?

 

If you write:


“No.”

“No?”

“No.”

 

That’s a little story. It’s a mini-drama.

 

So…I challenge you, brave and daring writers of the City of Toronto:

What’s the very least that you can write about?

Can you stop it from becoming about anything?

 

Nothing is stopping you.

 

Try it and send it in here.

 

Nothing would surprise me.

 

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On a related note, WHAT is the WORLD'S SMALLEST POEM?

The popular Internet video podcast Vsauce thinks it was written by a guy who used to live in Toronto (but has since moved to Ottawa) jwcurry (that's his picture, up at the top.) He's a really brilliant Canadian writer and publisher. And he has a great beard. I'm guessing there's poems in there.

Here are two contenders for the shortest poem:

  Egrumn3

This poem is an 'm' with an extra leg. It was written by Aram Saroyan.

 

Egrumn4

This is the poem by jwcurry that Vsauce says is the shortest poem in the world.
It's a 'i' with the dot replaced with a fingerprint.
It's all about 'i'-ness, about identity, how we name what is us.
(As jwcurry has noted in a comment below, he considers this to poem to be a 'translation' from Vladimir Burda's original Czech poem.

 

And here is the video of the always hyperactivally interesting Vsauce and its superenthusiastically intense host, Michael Stevens. 

 

 

 

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