Hey Jason — that’s an interesting question. I think a lot of people are taking the “read time” too literally, which leads to thinking a 10 minute piece is going to “pay” better than a 2 minute piece. That’s not quite how it works.

Medium wrote an FAQ entry to address read time. One of the things they say is that longer posts don’t necessarily mean longer read time. I’ll come back to that in a minute.

On your question — I do think it’s wise to publish one poem at a time. Know why?

Because human nature works like this — if we see a wall of text, what do we do? We scroll. Look at the headlines. Try to get a bead on whether we actually want to read that whole wall of text.

With a short piece, we don’t have to do that. We can just stop and digest it. And thus, the words stand on their own. They captivate, or do not.

This is what Medium is talking about. For example, a lot of 15 minute posts have an average read time of — wait for it — 2 minutes. It’s because of the scroll and scan and read headlines and then wander away thing we do on the internet. TLDR (too long didn’t read) is as real as you and me.

I see the same thing you do. Poets adding some text at the bottom to try to get people to stay longer. I wish they wouldn’t. I wish they would use that little bit of time to ask if they can make their poem just a tad stronger. Swap a word or rearrange a sentence.

Because when a poem touches the heart, or stirs emotions we often read it more than once.

If anything, I’d tell poets to use more white space. Or add photos. Because my concern with “short” pieces is not that we won’t read and digest and re-read, but that we don’t use enough real estate to require scrolling. And it’s easy for a robot to interpret that as though we opened the poem and didn’t do anything after that, when indeed we read it 3 times.

Nice to meet you and thanks for a great conversation! ❤

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