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London train station holds Twitter haiku contest

Commuters jetting through London's King Cross and St. Pancras train station will have the opportunity this week to participate in what organizers are calling the world's first interactive Twitter poetry competition.

Commuters jetting through London's King's Cross and St. Pancras train station will have the opportunity this week to participate in what organizers are calling the world's first interactive Twitter poetry competition.

The contest was dreamed up by the local Kings Place arts centre. The station brims with commuters using the Eurostar train service, which zips them to the continent.

Commuters are being invited to submit haiku-style poems on the subject of the "great British summer" from their cellphones using the social blogging tool. 

Poems are displayed within minutes of submission on a board in the station.

"From The Ladykillers to Harry Potter, the station has been recorded in film and literature but the thousands of people it brings into London each day are rarely acknowledged," Peter Millican, the head of Kings Place, told The Guardian newspaper.

"Twitter and haiku just seemed to click."

Twitter only permits 140 characters to be transmitted at a time. Haiku is an ancient form of Japanese poetry that requires three unrhyming lines of five, seven and five syllables. 

The contest begins Monday and runs until Friday. The best ones will be judged by poet Jackie Kay and artist Yoko Ono and will be displayed at Kings Place.

"I'm intrigued by Twitter; it's a whole new form of communication," said Kay "I've always been fascinated by the mystery and brevity of haiku, how people can say simple things, profoundly."

Budding poets are encouraged to focus on the traditional content of haiku — the seasons and nature.

Some commuters though, prefer to couch their complaints in verse: "Privatise the trains / The fat cats make money / Commuters suffer" wrote Tantalise on Monday.

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