Sunday, September 23, 2007

Perennial Postcard List

Dear Poet,

Thanks for participating in this Perennial Postcard Poetry Fest. What follows are suggested guidelines.

The Mailing List

Whenever new folks ask to join we'll add them to the bottom of the list which you can access with the password you received on September 23. You should check the website above before mailing a card to see if there has been an address change or if new names have been added.

Right now, please check your address on this list and send a correction to Lana.Ayers at yahoo dot com immediately if anything is wrong.

Getting Started

Gather 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, ebay, bookstores, even local pharmacies all carry postcards.

Get some postcard stamps. Remember if you send larger than standard cards, the postage is higher. Also, there are folks from many different countries on the list, and the postage rate varies widely internationally. Go to the post office to check mailing rates before sending your cards. If mailing from the US , you can find postal rates at

Start Playing

Get started right away! We'd like to ask you try to send at least a postcard a week on average. If you want to send more, that's great too. We'd also like to suggest that you send to the person below you on the mailing list, and keep moving down the list. That way everyone on the list should receive a postcard in a week or so. If you start at the top, then the poor folks towards the bottom may be waiting a year or more to hear from anyone. So the person who is #42, would send a postcard the first week to #43, the second week to #44, and so on. If you get to the bottom of the list, then start over up at #1. It will be tricky as we add new names, but work it out as best you can. We want everyone to receive cards and feel involved in the project.

You may not get to everyone on the list in a year's time, but the important thing is you keep writing and sending postcard poems on a regular basis.

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.

Keep writing cards about once a week whether you receive any or not. The ways of mail are mysterious. You will receive cards. Focus on all those recipients on the list eager to hear from you, who will be excited to open their mail and find the images and words you've chosen just for them.

Continue Playing

Whenever you receive a 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 as soon as you can.

Some conscious and unconscious threads may develop among the cards you receive and those you send. You may want to snap a picture or make a copy of the card before you send it out and keep a record of the poem/card that prompted it.

General Flow

In an ideal world, you'd receive a card every week. But distance, individual writing practices, and the postal service throw a bit of chaos into the mix. What we hope will happen is that you mail and receive a unique array of postcards from the members on the list. There may be weeks you get more than one card, weeks you receive none. But certainly you'll have your own collection of unique, original card poems from authors all over the world. Remember to sign your card, so people will know who it was from.

For a glimpse of our August Postcard Poetry Fest and to see what others have done, checkout the blog: or check out the group Postcard Poetry Fest on (you need to join Facebook to see this site).


If for whatever reason, you aren't able to continue participating in the perennial postcard fest, notify us immediately to remove you from the list. Unlike August, when we sent out an email and a thread started running, we'll bcc any instructions to prevent any unwanted emails from going out. For that same reason we're not going to put emails on the on-line address list, as many people complained about their inboxes last August.

If you have any questions, feel free to email.


We're planning a Poetry Postcard Festival Convention next September in the Seattle area. If you'd like to help with planning, please get in touch with us. We see it happening on the weekend of September 12-14, 2008, and we're trying to line up a proper venue. We'll keep you posted on that.

Thanks again for participating in this postcard poetry adventure. Have fun and good writing.

Lana (Lana.Ayers at yahoo dot com) & Paul (pen at splab dot org)


plnelson said...

I just joined.

So far I've written one postcard and received two.

I'd like to make some suggestions:

1. People who send postcards should include their name so we know who wrote the poem (one of my senders had no identification; the other had an illegible signature)

2. I just got an advertisement in the mail for a book that one participant - Julene Weaver - has published. I suggest we have a rule that this address list is only to be used for postcard poetry unless we indicate otherwise.

Ann said...

Hello postcard divas and divos,

My mailbox is empty, alas. I'm blaming the rain and Christopher Columbus Day.

I'm very forgiving and will send a postcard to the next on my lineup, making it three in the mail so far.

As always, Ann

peN said...


I'll send a note to Julene. I am disappointed.

As for signing, yeah, we want people to do that in SOME distinctive manner, but they don't always follow rules these poets.


Thanks for being involved.