July 14, 2016
Though it’s not quite mid-July and August seems waaaay off, there are a couple of August opportunities with deadlines you may not want to miss.
Signups for the August Poetry Postcard Fest close on Sunday, July 17, 2016.
Signups for The Poetry Marathon close on Tuesday, July 19, 2016.
Both of these poem-generating events require a personal commitment and a certain amount of prep. But participating in one or both means that you’ll end up with a chapbook’s worth of poem drafts to show for your summer.
You can find more information on the August Poetry Postcard Fest (APPF) on the APPF website, the official call, the 56 Days of August site (about the APPF anthology) and 56 Days of August Facebook page.
P.S. These are both international events. Poets everywhere are invited to participate.
. . . . .
moon phase calendar
July 4, 2016
Once again, it’s time to sign up for the August Poetry Postcard Fest. Registration for the 10th annual APPF begins today, July 4, 2016. To pay the small fee and register, you can go directly to Brown Paper Tickets (be sure to complete your address information carefully so postcards will find their way to you through the mail!) and you can get all the Fest details on the official APPF page.
What’s new this year is that participants will be eligible to submit postcard poems for an anthology, 56 Days of August, to be published in October 2017 by Five Oaks Press. More information on the anthology at 56 Days of August.
May 2, 2016
The first week of May is National Postcard Week. After a month of writing (or intending to write) a poem a day, NPW is an opportunity to share snippets of what you wrote during National Poetry Month — or to craft something brief and new. (Postcard stamps for U.S. mail are currently $0.34.)
This is also a good time to get that reminder into your calendar: signups for the 10th August Poetry Postcard Fest begin in early July. (At the APPF link, subscribe to Paul Nelson’s newsletter to make sure you’re notified and then start gathering postcards from shops, garage sales, thrift stores…and that box in your closet.)
March 29, 2016
If you visit this page regularly, you know that the August Poetry Postcard Fest gets regular coverage here. But in case August is just too far away, you might consider participating in a postcard poetry exchange for National Poetry Month. Using the August Poetry Postcard Fest as a model, Lenora Rain-Lee Good has started an April poetry postcard exchange and invites you to participate. To sign up, use the form on her Contact page to provide your name and correct snail mail address, then gather your postcards and stamps and start writing. Lenora will send you your list of names and addresses.
February 15, 2016
Bison Bookbinding, a lovely letterpress and bookbinding studio in downtown Bellingham, Washington, isn’t going to let the art of letter writing slip away without a whimper. Though these days a signature (if that!) on a holiday card seems to pass for a personal note, there’s still plenty of pleasure — for both sender and recipient — to be gained from “real” letter writing.
To that end, Bison Bookbinding invites your participation in a free gathering on the third Wednesday of each month from 7:00-9:00pm. The Write More Letters Club, led by Meghan Yates, offers inspiration and guidance in a friendly, no-pressure atmosphere. Bring your favorite writing implement (or purchase one). Find out more on the Bison Bookbinding Events page. (If the dates are not current, don’t worry — Bison assures us the monthly meetings are ongoing.)
Who knows….this could be just the inspiration you need to participate in this year’s August Poetry Postcard Fest!
December 2, 2015
Though early December seems a trifle late to be doing the wrap-up on the 2015 August Poetry Postcard Fest, here it is, better overdue than never.
The big change this year was that Paul Nelson, who masterfully coordinates the project, decided to implement a $10 participation fee. While this inspired a certain amount of whining initially, it had the overall effect of almost completely eliminating the people who were not serious about participating. In past years, the biggest disappointment has been how many people signed up but never mailed any cards. (Ideally, each participant sends/receives a postcard to/from each person on a list of 31, self sometimes, but not always, excepted.) This year, the deadbeat list was short and many of the non-receipts could be written off to lost-in-the-mail.
While not in its first year, the August Poetry Postcard Fest group on Facebook was more active than ever. One of the added benefits of the group was identifying poets whose names did not appear (by oversight, intent or damage in the mail) on the cards they sent.
About the project, Paul says, “The quality of the writing, of the images and of the kind notes has set a new water mark for the fest for me. I can’t begin to articulate how humbled am I by all the participants, by the liveliness of this here PCFB [Facebook] page and by how many people are chipping in to take this project to the next level… Abrazos!” Here is Paul Nelson’s Highlights from 2015 and his 2015 Afterword.
A number of participants posted their own recaps, some including images and text from their postcards. Here is a sampling (most date from September, so you may have to scroll back): Barbara Jean Sunshine Walsh | Courtney LeBlanc | Elizabeth Woods | Gabriel Cleveland | Kristin Cleage Williams | Margo Jodyne Dills | Mary Beth Frezon | Ruby Kane | S.E. Ingraham | Taffe Cortinas Dongham.
An unexpected bonus to the 2015 Fest has been the arrival of additional postcards well into November. A number of postcarders committed themselves to sending a card to each of the participants on this year’s list — an ambitious undertaking, but that adds up to 208 draft poems that are ready for reworking!
In all, it was a fine month of poetry. Thanks to Paul and all.
2016 will mark the 10th August Poetry Postcard Fest and the countdown clock is already running. See more on the August POetry POstcard Fest page.
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!