letter power

July 20, 2015


Imagine this (fairly typical) scenario: You’ve published a chapbook or a volume of your poetry. When you announce it on Facebook, everyone you know Likes your post. People show up at your readings. Some of them buy your book. For six months or so, your book has a life of its own.

After that…well, not much. You can sell a few copies here and there, but, mostly, your book has traveled the arc of its marketability. You’ve gone on with your life. Maybe you’re working on your next book, or even the one after that. But still, it’s a little sad to see it fade from attention.

So now imagine that one day you fetch your mail or open your email and there’s a fan letter. Someone has read your book and been sufficiently moved to write you a note. It’s a gift. No matter where you are in your poetry career, fan letters feel good.

What are you reading? Do you love it? Are you moved by a particular poem or by the entire collection? Why not take a few minutes and write a note to the author? The act of writing the letter will help you sort through your thoughts about the poems, and will, in fact, make you a better writer. You’ll make the poet feel good. Your letter may even help him/her get past publishing postpartum.

In your note, be specific: if you love a particular line or poem, mention it. If the poems have inspired you, say so. If you have a question for the poet, ask it.

You never know, you could get a reply.
. . . . .
image: Letters of Note


One Response to “letter power”

  1. awritersalchemy Says:

    absolute truth!

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