I never know quite when it’s over — when all of the postcards I’m likely to receive have now arrived. As of today, six (of 31) are still outstanding, which is not bad, and anyway better than last year.

In 2011, when I first participated in the poem-on-a-postcard-each-day-of-August event, I had no idea that writing these short, daily poems would become an ongoing practice. But that’s what happened.

This has become the foundation of my writing, the warmup exercise that slows the atrophy of poetry muscles. Warmup is the operative word. These are not polished poems, but first drafts sent off to a stranger in a gesture of trust with the unspoken near-certainty that they can, and perhaps will, be improved. Drafted quickly for their postcard moment, many later get published or edited into longer poems or compiled into chapbooks (the latter as yet unpublished, but on finalist and semifinalist lists in several contests).

In recent years, many Postcard Fest participants have lavished as much attention on the picture side as on the poem side of the card. Though I’m not one (I use my own printed or random commercial postcards), that makes it especially fun to receive cards in the mail.

Some of us begin to feel like friends when we land on the same list year after year. For those of us on Facebook, there is a participants’ group and a strong sense of community. Though few of us have actually met, the connection with poet/artists all over the world feels more personal than expected. We worry about those who are in harm’s way, ill, evacuated, grieving (aren’t we all?), and share moments of emotion and triumph along with postcard news.

Even with my now well-established habit of daily poeming, I have already signed up for the 2022 Poetry Postcard Fest. Signing up early means my name will likely be on a list with a few people I “know” from other years.

In a time when personal mail is rare, a postcard in the mailbox is a small treasure.

Thank you, Paul Nelson (Postcard Fest co-founder and official wrangler) and postcard friends.

. . . . .
photo: the 2021 haul, including a few bonus cards

There’s still a little time to sign up for the World Peace Poets annual Peace Poetry Postcards Fest and exchange postcards with poets around the world who care about peace. Just sign up and during the month of February send one postcard each to the 29 people on your list.

The deadline to sign up is Tuesday, January 28, 2020. Simply send an email to worldpeacepoets AT gmail.com with your name, and your street address (or PO Box), city, country, and Zip Code. You will receive brief instructions along with a list of names and addresses.

No previous poetry experience required!

today!

July 4, 2018

Today’s the day: sign ups open for the August Poetry Postcard Fest. Details here, or go directly to the August POetry POstcard Fest 12 (2018) registration page.

Please join us this evening at the Mount Baker Theatre Encore Room where Poetry Postcards: a panel and conversation will be a lively exploration of the poetry and art of postcards. We have a terrific panel of poets, artists, educators, and avid fans of the postcard, including Tallie Jones, Nancy Pagh, Eugenia Hepworth Petty, Ina Roy, Joanna Thomas, and moderator Paul Nelson.

There will be lots of images, poems, and conversation about spontaneous poetics and how postcards fit into our text/social media/email/hashtag lifestyle, plus a couple of the panelists will offer prompts or exercises.

The event is also a book launch for 56 Days of August, the anthology of the 2016 August Poetry Postcard Fest.

ALSO, we are doing a free POSTCARD EXCHANGE. Bring unused postcards (commercial or homemade) and take a new card home for every one you bring.

The entire event is free (except for book sales, which are encouraged) and should be a lot of fun. Please join us and bring your art/poetry pals!

poetry postcards 2017

October 5, 2017

As a seven-year veteran of the August Poetry Postcard Fest (APPF), I think it just keeps getting better. This year, I received more postcards and better poems than in previous years (several arrived after the above photo was snapped).

Taking a hint from other postcarders, I wrote all of my poems on a theme. What that means is that I now have a collection of short poems to revise into a chapbook! The theme added an unexpected energy to the process: while I gave little thought to what I’d write the next day, each morning a poem seemed to be waiting to be shaped to postcard size.

Each year, a number of participants do a recap of their APPF adventures. Here are a few who have provided links:

Paul E. Nelson | Barbara Jean Sunshine Walsh |
Christine Hartzell
| Jane Swanson | Judith van Praag | Kristin Cleage Williams | L. Lisa Lawrence | Linda Crosfield |Margo Jodyne Dills | Rosanne Martine-Braslow (2016) | Sarah Sousa

One of the pleasures of APPF is that it explores the boundary between words and image. Many participants make their own postcards and many use images from cards sent or received as a place to begin their poems.

At an event coming up this Monday in Bellingham, we’ll explore that boundary. More than your typical stand-up-and-read poetry reading, Poetry Postcards: a panel and conversation will examine the postcard experience from many directions, including the visual. Please join us at this free event and postcard exchange!

Monday, October 9, 2017, 7:00pm
Bellingham, Washington
Poetry Postcards: a panel and conversation
at the Mount Baker Theatre, Encore Room

A conversation with panelists Tallie Jones, Nancy Pagh, Eugenia Hepworth Petty, Ina Roy-Faderman, and Joanna Thomas, plus moderator Paul Nelson. They will show images, offer resources, read postcard poems, lead exercises, and offer prompts. As a bonus, there will be a postcard exchange: bring unused postcards (commercial or handmade) and take home an equal number contributed by others. Click for PDF event flyer with panelist bios.

There are other APPF events scheduled in October, in Seattle and Portland, and more on the way. Meanwhile, the countdown to August Poetry Postcard Fest 2018 has already begun (to make sure you don’t miss the sign-up call, go to that page and sign up for Paul Nelson’s newsletter).

books!

September 26, 2017

Very excited to finally have in hand the August Poetry Postcard Fest (APPF) anthology, 56 Days of August (Five Oaks Press).

Each August, hundreds of people from around the world write and mail a daily poem on a postcard — spontaneous, un-edited, and, more often than not, going to a complete stranger. 2016 was the tenth anniversary of APPF, and the anthology was assembled to honor the occasion. It includes poems and full-color images selected from the participants’ submissions. Your faithful blogger was honored to be invited to co-edit the collection with Paul Nelson and Ina Roy-Faderman.

A number of free book-launch-poetry-postcard events are scheduled and more are in the works:

Monday, October 9, 2017, 7:00pm
Bellingham, Washington
Poetry Postcards: a panel and conversation
at the Mount Baker Theatre, Encore Room
A conversation about the possibilities of postcard poetics with panelists Tallie Jones, Nancy Pagh, Eugenia Hepworth Petty, Ina Roy-Faderman, and Joanna Thomas, plus moderator Paul Nelson. They will show images, offer resources, read postcard poems, and may even lead exercises or offer prompts. As a bonus, there will be a postcard exchange: bring unused postcards (commercial or handmade) and take home an equal number contributed by others. (J.I. Kleinberg, coordinator) Click for PDF event flyer with panelist bios.

Thursday, October 12, 2017, 7:00pm
Tacoma, Washington
56 Days of August Book Launch
at King’s Books
Readings by contributing poets — just one of many events scheduled for the Cascadia Poetry Festival

Friday, October 27, 2017, 7:00pm
Portland, Oregon
56 Days of August Anthology: PDX Launch Event & Poetry Reading
at Mother Foucault’s Bookshop
Readings by contributing poets

56 Days of August will be for sale at each event and online. In addition, there’s a 56 Days of August Indiegogo campaign to cover a variety of costs. There are some swell perks — primarily signed copies of poetry books due out this winter. Have a look, buy a book, and please join us at one of these events.

Hope you’ll mark your calendar and plan to attend Poetry Postcards: a panel and conversation on Monday, October 9, 2017. Thanks to Paul E Nelson for sharing all the details.

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