Twitter, haiku and the unveiling of the wonku

February 1, 2010

     By Duncan Green     

Sharp eyed readers will have noticed that you can now sign up for twitter feeds of new posts from this blog (under my mug shot to the right of this).

I have no intention of tweeting separately for the moment, partly because my son informed me,

grave of haiku master Yosa Buson

grave of haiku master Yosa Buson

in a voice dripping with scorn, that twitter is ‘just for old people pretending to be young’. Ouch. Also I don’t think I could cope with a 140 character limit. With one exception – why don’t we start a line in development wonk haiku (the 17 syllable Japanese poems – just the right length for a tweet). Added complication is they have to be three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables

We could call them wonku. You know, something like:

‘Conditional cash
transfers. A panacea?
Can’t be that easy.’


‘the Copenhagen
Action Plan: suicide note
from humanity?’

Wonku would provide us with ready-made responses to the dreaded ‘lift question’ (what would you say about your latest report to Ban Ki-moon/Barrack Obama etc if you found yourself in a lift with them?). And they could provide a great alternative to executive summaries. In fact, some of the clunkier titles of Oxfam policy papers are probably already wonku without us even realizing it (must check that sometime). Reckon they could catch on? If so, send me some. Copy of From Poverty to Power to the best (yes, yes, I know, two copies to the worst…..)

For the real thing, see here or this example from Ezra Pound, which has stuck in my head since I read it as a kid.

February 1, 2010
Duncan Green