Children who use social networking sites and text messaging to communicate are “perfecting” their poetry skills, Carol Ann Duffy, the Poet Laureate, has said.
The 55 year-old said communicating via mobile phones and through social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, helped teenagers condense their thoughts.
Britain’s first female Poet Laureate, who is second only to Shakespeare as the subject of choice for undergraduates studying English, said poetry was the “original” form of text messaging.
Her views are in stark contrast to other education experts who have lamented how modern language is being killed off by the so-called “Facebook generation”.
But launching a defence of younger generations, the creative director of Manchester Metropolitan University’s writing school, said modern musicians used language in a poetic way.
"The poem is a form of texting ... it's the original text," said the poet, whose work is studied in schools at GCSE(General Certificate of Secondary Education) and A-level.
“It's a perfecting of a feeling in language – it's a way of saying more with less, just as texting is.
“We've got to realise that the Facebook generation is the future – and, oddly enough, poetry is the perfect form for them.”
Asked if poetry would survive in the “age of Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger”, she said: “I think increasingly in this century poetry is probably the literary form that will last the most.
“Poems are the original text messages in that they use language in a very concise way and I think they will become more relevant in this century than in the last century.
“We are reading less now than we did and a lot of young people spend a lot of time in front of a computer on Facebook or tweeting.
“So the poem is the literary form that is the most accessible simply because of its brevity.”
Duffy, a passionate advocate of poetry teaching in schools, dismissed suggestions from some teachers that it was "difficult" or "complicated".
The Scottish poet and playwright, who grew up in a “bookless house”, said that poetry was undergoing a major revival in the nation's classrooms.
Duffy, whose 10 year-term as Poet Laureate ends in eight years’ time, added: “It's a kind of time capsule – it allows feelings and ideas to travel big distances in a very condensed form."
Asked if modern day teenagers were better at poetry than children from different generations, she told The Guardian: "I think it's most obvious in music.
"If you look at rapping, for example, a band like Arctic Monkeys uses lyrics in a poetic way. And using words in an inventive way is at the heart of youth culture in every way."
She added: “I know children love poetry. When I go into schools to give readings or do workshops, teenagers come up to me afterwards and ask me to read their poems.
“For them, poetry is a way of talking to themselves and understanding their feelings.
“If you look at forms like rap, they are skilfully using language, rhyme, and rhythm. Rap is a form of poetry. So the word is very important to young people.”