Friday, July 13, 2007


As linked on the SPLAB! website, here are the guidelines for the inaugural August Poetry Postcard Fest:

Dear Poet,

Thanks for participating in this August Postcard Poetry Fest. What follows in this email are the rules of play.

The Mailing List

A mailing list containing 31 names and addresses will have been sent to each participant. Some addresses may be international and you'll need to go to the post office to get the proper postage for these addresses. You won’t be putting your address on the cards, so blow it and the card is lost forever.

General Flow

In an ideal world, you'd receive a card every day of August and write a card each day of the month. But distance and the postal service throw a bit of chaos into the mix. What we hope will happen is that you mail 30 postcards with 30 original poems and you’ll receive 30 postcards from the members on the list mostly within the month of August. There may be days you get more than one card, days you receive none.

Getting Started

Gather at least 30 of the most interesting postcards you can find. Although we don't want to censor anyone, do remember some of the folks you may be mailing to, may have young children. Antique stores, thrift shops, bookstores, even local pharmacies all carry postcards.

Get some postcard stamps. Remember for those outside the US, you'll need to check the postage requirement, and if you send larger cards, the postage can be higher. Take time to figure this out.

Start Playing

On or about July 27th, send postcards to the 3 people on the list below your name. (If you are near the bottom, send a card to anyone below you then start again at the top.) Ideally, you would write 3 different short poems -- remember they are being composed on a postcard and please keep your handwriting clear. (If you start with folks outside your country, you may want to start sending poems early.)

What to write? Something that relates to your sense of "place" however you interpret that, something about how you relate to the postcard image, what you see out the window, what you're reading, a dream you had that morning, or an image from it, etc. Like “real” postcards, get to something of the “here and now” when you write. Present tense is preferred.

Don't dwell or worry over these little poems too much. After all, it should feel like play, as if you're writing long lost acquaintances to tell them something that excites or interests you. Imagine that you know each person you are writing to as you write. Write out of the moment you're in and write quickly once you do sit down to write. Do write original poems for the project. Taking old poems and using them is not what we have in mind. Letting a card linger for a while before you respond to the next person on your list is cool. If you don't receive any postcards for 3 days, go ahead and write to the next person on the list.

Continue Playing

As soon as you receive your first postcard in the mail from someone else, use that card as inspiration to write to the next person on your list. Try to respond to that card's image, style, tone or content, or anything else. How you link is not important, just that there is some connection developing, however subtle, and write your next poem from there. Try to get your postcard poem out no later than the next day, unless you have a backlog. The idea is to write one poem each day with some kind of thread.

Whenever you receive a postcard, write a poem in response and send it to the next person on your list. Keep doing this once a day until all the names on the list have received your original postcard poems. You may want to snap a picture, or make a copy of the card before you send it out and a copy of the poem/card which prompted it.

At the End of August

(or the beginning of September) You should have written 30 original postcard poems and received 30 original collector's poems on cool postcards with some interesting stamps. We do have some folks outside the USA and getting cards from them may take a while. You can incorporate that into your poems, or not.

We're scouting venues for a Seattle event on Saturday, September 22, but if you can't come to Seattle, maybe you can host an event of your own.


If for whatever reason, you aren't able to continue participating in the postcard fest, notify us immediately. It is essential for a proper flow that participants send postcards in a timely fashion to everyone on their list.

Fun, Fun, Fun

Thanks again for participating in this postcard poetry adventure. Have fun, remember use sunscreen, and good writing.


Lana & Paul

(Audio on post cards starts at 6:33 in.)

A cool site with poetry postcards.

Anogther site worth browsing

No comments: