Guest Blogger S.A. MacNeil: Pint-sized Poetic Punch

Guest Blogger S.A. MacNeil: Pint-sized Poetic Punch


Here’s something you may not know: I fell in love with the subtle art of micropoetry a few years ago. I didn’t realize it had a name until about a year later. What a concept! Creating poetry within the confines of a set limit, in this case a number of characters. And I thought haiku was cool!  Wow.  I especially enjoyed sampling the talented work of a lot of great poets I was happy to discover on Twitter of all places. These writers could paint such a vivid picture with only a few words or evoke deep feelings from me using this bite-size literary tool. One such poet I got to meet was @Lady_Loch. I came to know her as one half of an awesome blog team that was one of the great early supporters at the time of my first book’s  release. I’ve since come to know this talented lady as S.A. MacNeil — a woman of wit, insight and skill with words. Poems like “Childhood’s Ache,” “No Leaves, Not Here” and “A Piercing Melody” showcase the different sides of this poignant writer.



Recently, MacNeil joined forces with another Twitter mainstay to launch a poetry prompt account designed to inspire the writer within all of us and explore a darker side of ourselves, cultivating richness and texture within our words. But I’ll let her tell you all about that. I happily hand over the reins to S.A. MacNeil to be in charge of this week’s Summer Blog Takeover as she shares her own perspective on what I’ve always called bite-size poetry. And be sure to scroll down under her guest blog for links where you can connect with her words elsewhere! ~ Chris



 Pint-Sized Poetic Punch by S.A. MacNeil

I think it’s funny when I hear people say “I’m not into poetry” or “I don’t get poetry”. If you like music, you like poetry….and who doesn’t like music?! To me they are one in the same. Not just in the sense that song lyrics ARE poetry, but music itself is poetry without the words. So no, you may not have spent your afternoons sitting beneath an old oak tree reading Keats, but that doesn’t mean you don’t like poetry or can’t appreciate it. Take myself, for example. All I ever knew of poetry growing up was Robert Burns. Although a revered and undoubtedly brilliant poet (one of my favorites), not the easiest to read.


It wasn’t until a few years ago when I was searching for a creative outlet that I began writing. I decided to experiment with poetry because it was new to me. It was a challenge. From that grew a strong appreciation for the art. I don’t believe my story to be unique either. Poetry has seen quite a surge in popularity among various social media communities. More and more people every day, it seems, are picking up their pens and sharing their work. And isn’t that a beautiful thing? In fact, if it wasn’t for the support of the Twitter community, I probably would not have continued writing.


Speaking of Twitter, I’m not sure what came first – the 140 character limit or micropoems. In any case, good things certainly come in small packages. What I love about micropoems is that, you guessed it, they’re short! Let’s face it, most people are busy.  It’s not always easy to find the time to tune everything out and put your thoughts to paper. I think that has played a significant role in why micropoetry has become so popular. It allows people to flex that creative muscle without the time commitment involved in writing a longer story or verse.  That being said, this isn’t ‘Poetry for Dummies’. Being able to invoke emotion, tell a story, connect with someone in 140 characters or less is pretty incredible.  Micropoems may be small, but they can pack a big punch.


Just as with time, inspiration can also be an elusive little devil. But never fear! Word prompt challenges are here! (Ok sorry, that was lame). For those of you who may not be familiar, there are several word prompt accounts on Twitter. These may be daily or weekly challenges in which they post a word, phrase or picture for you to write about. Word prompts hand you the ignition, the spark you need to fire up that idea for a poem. I think the best thing about word prompt challenges though….is the challenge! Incorporating an idea but making it your own. Taking it in a different direction. It’s really interesting to read the variety of work that is sparked from one idea.


It was for that reason that I agreed to co-host a word prompt account. @colddarkpoetry (#cdpoetry) was started by @thepoisonedpoet for those writers who may be looking for something a little different . A little darker. We are the shadows lurking among all the other hearts and flowers. However, we don’t discriminate. If sweetness and love is what you want to write about, bring it on. It’s fascinating to read all the different takes on your own prompt. To see something in a way you may not have thought of before.


I truly believe the popularity of micropoetry and word prompts have been paramount in opening up poetry, and writing in general, to a whole new audience.  Encouraging people to write and be creative when they may not have otherwise. As William Faulkner once said, “If a story is in you, it has to come out.”



SAMacNeil_smallerIf you’ve read her thoughtful poetry, you might be surprised to learn that S.A. MacNeil comes from a science background, steeped in environmental studies  and biology. But as the Toronto-based lady puts it, “somewhere along the way, a switch flipped and I was craving to use the creative side of my brain.” She turned to writing as an artistic outlet and embraced it wholeheartedly. Slightly coy about literary projects in the works, she notes there’s an idea she is exploring but whether she publishes or when remains a mystery. Those who enjoy her words can keep up with them on Twitter at @Lady_Loch and read her poetry and photography at her blog, Whispered Whimsy.

1 Comment

  1. A wonderful post and exploration of micropoetry, a format I’ve totally fallen in love with over the past few years, and have found so much scope and solace in. I don’t think I’ve ever written to a #cdpoetry prompt but I’m very much looking forward to being inspired by the great account. Keep the poetic spirit alive!

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