Not to rush your summer, but July 4th signals the opening of registration for the annual August Poetry Postcard Festival!
This is a FAVORITE event for me and many others who have been doing it since it started over ten years ago, as well as for newbies – who are always welcome to join!
Visit Paul E Nelson’s webpage for full instructions, but the basic premise is this: Registrants are grouped with 31 other participants and each group member gets a list of names and addresses. You start with the name below yours on the list and each day, write a poem on a postcard and send it to that person. The next day, you go to the next name on the list, write, send, repeat.
The idea is to be spontaneous in writing these poems. They aren’t supposed to be prewritten (although some folks do type or reprint for the sake of legibility), and as much as possible, written in the moment. In the past, I’ve known a writer to focus on colors as a theme, another randomly landed on a word in the dictionary and made that their inspiration. Since the only requirement is to write and send a card a day, the rest is up to each writer’s imagination and motivation. The postcards can be anything at all – some people make their own, some use photos, others are cheesy tourist postcards, some are vintage – it’s totally up to the sender.
There is a $10 registration fee to help handle the oversight. I’m happy to pay this, and the domestic and occassional international postage – considering how much I spend on conferences each year, some of which I walk away from wondering what I gained from them. The APPF has never disappointed. Not only has it inspired my own writing in numerous ways, there is something so uniquely enjoyable about going to the mailbox each day, wondering what I might be gifted from another poet out there somewhere in the world.
Challenge yourself to do this. Participate. Enjoy it. Struggle through it. At the end of the month, you’ll feel enormous satisfaction and even a bit a sadness that it’s over.