Poetry fans! Postcard fans! This is your dream come true! The 2013 August Poetry Postcard Festival!
Sign up! It’s simple, fun, and inexpensive. The premise: You get a list of names and addresses. You start with the person below your name and go through the list. One per day. You write a poem on a postcard and send it to the recipient, and then you also start getting poetry postcards sent to you.
Rules? Well, one biggie that some argue the doability of: You sit and write without revision directly on the card. No pre-written poems. No recycled works. No multiple drafts. Just write and send.
It is a tough exercise, to be sure, and as noted, not everyone does it this way. I’ve gotten postcards that have the poem typed and taped – some writers claiming poor penmanship, to which I agree – some are really tough to read, but then, some of the taped paper gets ripped off in the mail machines resulting in blank postcards. I’ll take a tough read over a blank postcard! Some writers say they want to think through the poem “just a little” before sending. Well…there are no poetry postcard police as far as I know.
I do understand the value of the exercise, and now in my sixth year of participation, I can honestly say I’ve gotten better at it. But, as a recipient, I’ll take whatever is sent my way – revised or not, scribbles or not, hard to read or clear as day. I LOVE the Poetry Postcard Festival and hope you’ll try it out too!
Huge thanks to Brendan McBreen of the Striped Water Poets for hosting the festival again this year. See his blog post for full guidelines, how to sign up, and a PDF of a poetry postcard writing exercise handout for your writing groups, workshops, or just for your own personal use.