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A jug of wine, a pair of tweets — and thou

28 September 2009

What happens when 11th century literature meets 21st century technology?

water&stone presents the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, serialized via Twitter. Follow A Pair of Tweets on Twitter ( starting Oct 1. Over the course of 3 weeks you will receive via Twitter one hundred and one verses of classic poetry.

“A Pair of Tweets is inspired by this year’s Ubud Writers and Readers Festival,” said Ric Shreves, one of the founding partners of digital agency water&stone. “We wanted to do something unique and fun to celebrate the event. We see some interesting activity on Twitter these days, but a lot of what happens is pretty ‘lite’ in terms of substance. Using the medium as a way to serialize poetry is something new. This may give some people who aren’t using Twitter a reason to try it. At the very least, A Pair of Tweets will add a little more substance for those of us who already use Twitter.”

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (Persian: رباعیات عمر خیام) is the title that Edward FitzGerald gave to his translation of a selection of poems, originally written in the Persian language during the late 11th and early 12th Centuries. The verses are widely believed to be the work of Persian poet, mathematician and astronomer Omar Khayyám. The Rubaiyat is widely regarded as one of the great classics of world literature and contains a number of well-known verses.

Shreves states, “the goal is to broadcast 101 of the most popular verses from FitzGerald’s classic translation of the Rubaiyat. Every day from October 1st through the 21st, A Pair of Tweets will feature five verses, each verse formatted to fit into two messages, or ‘tweets’ as they are commonly called.”

The verse of the Rubaiyat is composed of two line stanzas with two parts, commonly known as a quatrain. “This particular verse format is a near perfect fit for Twitter. Even though Twitter limits us to short postings, we can fit an entire verse quite neatly into two tweets,” notes Shreves.

“Anyone can follow the broadcast and we encourage everyone who’s interested in literature or new media to join in,” added Shreves. “We kick off A Pair of Tweets on October 1 and continue through the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. We hope this adds another layer of literary experience for the followers, regardless of whether they can physically attend the Festival.” A Pair of Tweets begins broadcasting on October 1 and continues until the 21st of October. Twitter users can automatically receive the broadcast by following

The broadcast is free of charge and open to all.


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