Welcome to the world’s least ambitious daily newspaper, in which I write no more than 140 characters each day about something I observed from my porch while drinking my morning coffee. Sometimes the results are lyrical enough to resemble poetry, but I think that’s mainly because they’re in the present tense (which uses up fewer characters than the past tense). And sure, I’m paying attention to the language as well as to the world outside my own head — I guess that’s the main point of the exercise.

All entries originate as posts at Twitter. Though the microblog medium is most often associated with ephemeral chatter, the notorious 140-character limit, like any arbitrary restraint in writing, can actually have a beneficial effect by leading one to look beyond the most ready-made words and expressions.

The morning porch.
The porch in 2009, when the ornamental cherry was still alive.

My front porch is at the head of a hollow (a large ravine) in the westernmost ridge of the Ridge and Valley section of Pennsylvania, in the upper Susquehanna drainage. I live in an old tenant house, built right after the Civil War, and my porch faces southeast. See the Plummer’s Hollow website for much more about the property. For more about me, visit DaveBonta.com.

Though I always drink my coffee on the front porch right after I get out of the shower, I often don’t write my Morning Porch entries for another hour or two. So don’t take the posts times too literally.

About the Site

I started in November 2007. I described my motivations in some detail in a post at my main blog, “Nature in 140 characters.” On August 9, 2009, I moved the blog from Tumblr to the present, self-hosted WordPress installation.

I only began tagging posts after the move, so posts from the first couple years aren’t indexed as thoroughly as the more recent ones yet, but eventually most key terms (especially species names) should be included on the tag index.

In November 2010, poet Luisa A. Igloria began using my posts as prompts and “found material” for poems, and leaving the results in the comments. Other poets soon followed suit (though none kept to a daily regimen as Luisa has — see Via Negativa to read all her Morning Porch poems). I welcome this, and my copyleft license (below and on sidebar) explicitly permits such remixing. I would encourage anyone who leaves such a poetic comment to check the box below the comment form to subscribe by email to any subsequent updates, so if, for example, a linked verse sequence kicks off, you’ll know about it in time to take part.

Copyleft Statement

All content by Dave Bonta at The Morning Porch is licenced for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike U.S. 3.0 license. This means that you can take what you like and use it as you wish, as long as I am credited as the author, a link back is provided (if online), and the resulting work is licensed under the same or similar license. Contact me for permission to reproduce Morning Porch posts in works with more traditional, restrictive copyrights.


Email me: bontasaurus [at] yahoo [dot] com.

Praise and scorn

“No matter how busy my morning is, I never miss The Morning Porch. It’s poetry. It’s magic.”
—Jennifer Schlick, A Passion for Nature

“His morning musings on bird-sightings are really lovely triggers for poetry.”
Luisa A. Igloria

“Go ahead and read Morning Porch for prime examples of Twitter poetry. I don’t see how Dave does it every day.”
Sherry Chandler

“In America, in the morning, @morningporch sits on his porch with a cup of coffee and tweets mostly about what he sees.”
Roger Ebert

“Now, it may seem unnecessarily mean to make fun of someone who is so genuine about their writing. But… Oh, who the fuck am I kidding? This is horrible. It’s so pretentious and writery and GAH! It’s like a Hybrid driver showing you a picture of his Hybrid that he keeps in his hemp wallet. Read this shit:
Rain like a drunk at a broken piano whose green keys all play the same note. The hornets still hide their hoard in a gray paper sack.
—Drew Magery, Deadspin: “A Compendium Of Horrible, Horrible Twitter Poetry

“I remember a lyric where the author seemed to have dozens of lines that all ended in the same rhyme. I think even the whole song, every line, had a different last word that rhymed with ‘bag’ and I felt like, ‘Surely that was the last possible rhyme’ and then the next line would just extend it.

“Like that song, I keep waiting for you to exhaust the possibilities of observation and paradoxically, like the rate of cosmic expansion, you are if anything, accelerating in things to observe.”

Evan Genest, high school physics teacher (in a Morning Porch comment)

Margaret Schroyer on Plummer's Hollow tenant house lawn, 1919.
A glimpse of the porch as it looked in 1919 (photo courtesy of Margaret Schroyer, pictured in foreground).