Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The August 2009 Fest is Over!

September 1 already. The velocity of our time is one of the most remarkable drugs I have ever known. All 31 of your cards should have been sent out by now. (I am one behind, argh!) If you're like me, you transcribe them, or scan them, & that more than doubles the time the whole process takes, but it's worth it, right?

The bad news: There was one spammer this year, who got onto the list to aid their own marketing efforts. (Ask me for a great John Andrew Rice quote on these kinds of people!) Is anything so pernicious as to do this? OK, maybe bombings and torture, but these kinds of people have to start someplace! Also, many folks typed up poems and stuck them to the back of cards. If you have NO penmanship, this is a viable option, but I think people took the easy way out and composed traditionally and then, when satisfied, stuck them on cards. This project is an experiment in letting go of the need to be perfect and learn to train your mind to compose in the moment. Philip Whalen said his poetry was "a picture or graph of the mind moving."

This is the most difficult type of composition, as it very much reveals the quality of the poet's mind. Usually, there is not a lot there, and that's unfortunate. One person typed up excerpts from poems and even generated address labels with a computer. Why even bother? To take time to think about a person, to have an impulse fleshed out from idea to epistle in a few short minutes once a day for a month, to carefully write out their name and get the card in the mail, this is such a rare gesture in our velocity-addled culture. The postcard project allows for something SLOWER, something more deliberate than most of what we get from our industry-generated culture. If you do the project the way it's supposed to be done, you give yourself and others a gift. After 30 days you can feel the difference. Something has shifted.

This year I used quotes from John Ashberry's book "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror." I never attributed the quotes, but I wonder who took the time to google the specific quote and see its source when they got the poem? I could imagine the other person being interested, or not, based on how interesting the quote was. This, in my own way, was an effort to create a dialog with the person receiving the card. A little gesture of consideration. Are these things becoming lost in our world, or just extremely rare?


Monday, July 27, 2009

Three Cards on Day 1

Great question by Katrina Roberts on Facebook:

hi paul --
i sent my first postcard today; was i supposed to send 3??

Paul Nelson
Today at 8:23pm
Yeah. This way there's a better chance someone will get one and have something to respond to/be inspired by on August 1 to continue the chain.

If you're on Facebook, please join the Poetry Postcard Group.

List Order

Great email exchange between Amanda Earl and Listkeeper Lana:

hi Lana,

would it be possible for you to send me the address list as a document? for my project this year i'm cutting and pasting the addresses and the poems.

if not that's ok, just a bit hard to cut and paste from the on line data base.

hope all is well. thanks again for setting up the festival!


From: Amanda Earl
Subject: august poetry address list
To: lana.ayers@yahoo.com
Date: Sunday, July 26, 2009, 6:33 AMHi Amanda,

I don't have the list as a doc.

What you can do is print the list using the print function in your web browser. And literally cut and paste with scissors and tape.

Or you can highlight the list with your mouse, right click and paste it into a Word doc. If you do "paste special" from your edit menu and choose "unformatted text" it will come out as simple list. If not, you'll get a table in your Word doc.

Have fun,

So,I tried that, and it worked. This is better than printing out the list via the website's print function, because that (for the Perennial List) produced an alphabetical order and, being an "N" guy, I did not get many perennial cards. So, I am going back from my position at #9 on the list to at least #40.

Good luck,


Tuesday, July 14, 2009


The Poetry Postcard Project continues in 2009:

Lana invited you to "August Poetry Postcard Fest" on Monday, July 27 at 12:00am.

Event: August Poetry Postcard Fest
"write and send a poem postcard every day in August"
What: Festival
Hosts: Paul Nelson and Lana Ayers
Start Time: Monday, July 27 at 12:00am
End Time: Saturday, August 31
Where: http://concretewolf.com/august

From Lana:

"Get yourself at least 31 postcards. These can be found at book stores, thrift shops, online, drug stores, antique shops, museums, gift shops. (You'll be amazed at how quickly you become a postcard addict.)

On or about July 27th, write an original poem right on a postcard and mail it to the person on the list below your name. (If you are at the very bottom, send a card to the name at the top.) And please WRITE LEGIBLY!

Starting on August 1st, ideally in response to a card YOU receive, keep writing a poem a day on a postcard and mailing it to successive folks on the list until you've sent out 31 postcards. Of course you can keep going and send as many as you like but we ask you to commit to at least 31 (a month's worth).

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, using a phrase/topic/or image from a card that you got, 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.

Do write original poems for the project. Taking old poems and using them is not what we have in mind. These cards are going to an eager audience of one, so there's no need to agonize. That's what's unique about this experience. Rather than submitting poems for possible rejection, you are sending your words to a ready-made and excited audience awaiting your poems in their mailboxes. Everyone loves getting postcards. And postcards with poems, all the better.

Once you start receiving postcard poems in the mail, you'll be able to respond to the poems and imagery with postcard poems or your own. That will keep your poems fresh and flowing. Be sure to check postage for cards going abroad. The Postcard Graveyard is a very sad place.

That's all there it to it. It's that fun and that easy."

Well, it is a little harder than that to write a good, spontaneous poem. You'll recognize the ones where little effort was put into them, so DON'T BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE!

Good luck.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Perennial Postcard Signup (NEW!)

From Lana “Keeper of the List” Ayers:

Happy 2009!

Thank you for participating the perennial poetry postcard project. In 2008 nearly 130 people took part. It has grown to be a rich international community of poetry postcarders.

For this new year, we have a new list interface. So if you are ready to keep sending those wonderful poetry postcards, all you need to do is go to http://ConcreteWolf.com/perennial and register. Once you are registered you can view the list and begin sending postcards. The 2008 list site will come down in a few days, so the new list is the only one that will be available.

Please write and send at least one poetry postcard a week. The most important part is to have fun and keep the cards going. Don't agonize too much over what you write -- first thought, best thought. Remember how exciting it is for the person who is eagerly waiting to find a little note from you in her mailbox.

If you need to change your address, you can do this yourself. And if for any reason you need to drop from the list, you can do that yourself as well. Check the list frequently as there will be a new sign-ups all the time.

May 2009 be a most poetic year,


(Lana says there will be a separate list for the August (daily) Postcard Fest. Stay tuned.)