July 11, 2015
In case you were thinking about participating in the 2015 August Poetry Postcard Fest, it’s time to sign up! Registration ends on July 27, 2015, and founder/postcard-poet wrangler Paul E. Nelson is busy assembling and distributing participant lists.
A few notes for potential participants:
- It’s not absolutely free. New this year is a modest registration charge of approx. $10(US$) (plus fee). You will also have to purchase 31 stamps — standard U.S. postcards (max. 4.25″ x 6″) are now $0.35 and international postcards (all countries) are $1.20. You also need to acquire postcards (see next bullet).
- Select your postcards. Some people make their own, some use a random assortment of picture postcards, some mail the same card to everyone on their list. You can often find inexpensive postcards at garage sales, Goodwill and other thrift stores and used-book stores.
- It’s about the first draft. The idea is not to share something that you wrote last year or last week, but to sit down fresh each day and write a first-draft poem right onto a postcard. If it feels hugely risky, don’t worry: it gets easier.
- Make a copy. All those drafts are yours to re-work over the coming months, so be sure to save copies. Some people scan every card, front and back. (You may also want to note which postcard and which poem you sent to each person on your list. Why? Well, for example, there’s a Facebook group for participants and someone may make a comment about how much they loved your poem; it would be nice to know what you sent them.)
- If you need a prompt, use the image on the postcard itself, or a word or image from a poem/postcard you’ve just received. (You might also find inspiration among our many previous posts on prompts.)
- Put your name on the postcards you send.
- Postcards are machine-processed and are usually marked with a bar code near the bottom of the message side of the card. If your poem extends within a half-inch of the bottom, the last line(s) might get overwritten or obscured.
- Make a commitment. If you sign up, follow through. If you miss a day, don’t stop! Send a postcard to every single person on your list. Well, okay, you don’t have to send one to yourself…but you could!
- Read and honor the guidelines. The guidelines are here.
- Sign up. You can sign up and pay with credit card or PayPal on Brown Paper Tickets. Please be VERY careful when you are entering your address on the BPT sign-up form. Right or wrong, that’s the address that other participants will use to mail postcards to you.
- Have fun!