Dear reader,

July 6, 2020

In response to a question you didn’t ask, maybe because you’re too polite to inquire about a magpie mind, I will say yes, it is getting more challenging to find fuel to feed the furnace of daily posting during a pandemic.

Today, I started thinking about all of the plein air typewriter poets who earn a few bucks poeming on demand at festivals and farmers markets, now out of work. That line of thought led me to the wonderful oz.Typewriter, Robert Messenger’s act of love and obsession since 2011. Here you’ll find the mechanics, history, and lore of typewriters, richly illustrated and somewhat magpie-ish, too, from Canberra, Australia.

Following an oztypewriter link to Welcome to the Typosphere, I was prompted to read a recent article in The New York Times, “Snail Mail Is Getting People Through This Time.” That made me curious about the recent stamp releases from our beleaguered post office (above).

It also prompts me to remind you that there are still 12 days remaining to sign up for the August POetry POstcard Fest. It launched early this year, with plenty of postcards already exchanged, but as more people register, new groups (of 32 each) are forming and can begin sending poetry postcards as soon as they receive their list. Just another way to get through this time. (Earlier posts on PoPo Fest here.)

With thanks for your attention, Likes, and Comments, I remain your masked correspondent,

. . . . .
Voices of the Harlem Renaissance, Forever stamps, issued May 21, 2020

Walt does the heavy lifting

September 21, 2019

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) honored the 200th anniversary of the birth of Walt Whitman with a new stamp in its Literary Arts series. The 85-cent stamp is intended for domestic First-Class Mail weighing up to 3 ounces. The stamp was issued on September 12, 2019, at the Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site in Huntington Station, New York. More information here.

And as long as we’re on the subject, we should mention that Canada Post is honoring Leonard Cohen with three stamps featuring the poet/artist during different phases of his 60-year career. The new stamps will be available to the public today, September 21, which would have been Cohen’s 85th birthday. Further details in the Montreal Gazette.

stamping poetry

August 4, 2015

Maya Angelou stamp

It has been a while since the U.S. Postal Service featured a poet on a new stamp (see our post from April 23, 2012), so if you like your outgoing mail to reflect your interests, pick up some Maya Angelou Forever stamps (@ 49¢). The stamp was issued on April 07, 2015, during National Poetry Month, and is available at your local post office and online. Each stamp bears the following quote*: “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

(*Thanks to Sheila Sondik for pointing out this Time article, which explains that the quote on the stamp was not, in fact, by Dr. Angelou, though often mis-credited, but was written by Joan Walsh Anglund in 1967.)

the poet speaks…

December 17, 2013

John Greenleaf Whittier 1940 postage stamp“And all the windows of my heart / I open to the day.”
John Greenleaf Whittier (December 17, 1807 – September 7, 1892)
from the poem ‘My Psalm’
. . . . .
U.S. postage stamp, John Greenleaf Whittier, 1940 Issue

stamp lit

May 22, 2013

Dublin story stamp by Eoin Moore

There are short-short stories and then there are short-short-small stories, like this one. In July 2010, Dublin, Ireland, was designated a UNESCO City of Literature. To commemorate that status, the city invited primary and secondary school participants in a writing program called Fighting Words to submit stories that captured ‘the essence of Dublin’ in precisely 224 words.

The winning entry, by then-17-year-old Eoin Moore, was printed on a bright yellow 60¢ postage stamp and issued last week. Sweet!

Read more about the new Dublin stamp (including a slightly larger version of the text), find out more on the Irish Post page, and see our previous posts about literary postage stamps here and here.

post some poets…

April 23, 2012

Stamps: 20th-century poets
Now at a post office near you: poets!
A brand-new Forever® stamp sheet honors ten 20th-century poets: Elizabeth Bishop, Joseph Brodsky, Gwendolyn Brooks, E. E. Cummings, Robert Hayden, Denise Levertov, Sylvia Plath, Theodore Roethke, Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams. The back side of the sheet — the aptly named verso — includes an excerpt from one poem by each of the poets featured on the sheet.

Note: although the issue date is April 21, 2012, the stamps may not yet be available in all post offices.

Cherry Blossom Postage Stamp

Congratulations to Michael Dylan Welch and Emiko Miyashita, whose translation of a waka (tanka) appears on the back of a U.S. postage stamp, in an edition of 15,000,000 copies, that will be released today, March 24, 2012.

The translation, which appears below, is from their 2008 artbook, 100 Poets: Passions of the Imperial Court (Tokyo: PIE Books). This “forever” stamp celebrates the 100th anniversary of the cherry trees in Washington, D.C.

hisakata no hikari nodokeki harunohi ni shizugokoro naku hana no chiruran

Ki no Tomonori (c.850–c.904)

the light filling the air
is so mild this spring day
only the cherry blossoms
keep falling in haste—
why is that so?

celebrating Stafford…

January 19, 2012

William StaffordEvery January, on or about the birthday of William Stafford (January 17), the poet’s fans gather for readings to commemorate his life and work. (Please note: the William Stafford Tribute planned for January 17 at Village Books in Bellingham, Washington, which was cancelled due to snow, has been rescheduled for Sunday, January 22, 2012, at 2:00pm.)

An exceedingly prolific poet, Stafford (1914 – 1993) was born in Kansas, but settled in Oregon in his 30s and lived there for the rest of his life. His poetry and prose is published in more than 65 of his own books and in innumerable collections and journals. He served as the U.S. Poet Laureate and earned many impressive awards and honors.

Dennis Schmidling, of Friends of William Stafford, is urging the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee of the U.S. Postal Service to “honor William Stafford’s life and work by issuing a commemorative stamp in 2014, the centennial year of his birth.” To learn more, view Schmidling’s letter here (PDF, Adobe Reader required). To endorse the idea of a William Stafford commemorative stamp, send a letter (by U.S. mail only!) to Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, c/o Stamp Development, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300, Washington, D.C. 20260-3501.

Meanwhile, there’s the Village Books reading on Sunday as well as others throughout the northwest and beyond.
William Stafford photo

something to post about…

September 6, 2011

USPS 20th century poets ~ 2012 issue

Included with a lineup of stamps commemorating festivals, sports, history and other cultural highlights, the U.S. Postal Service will honor Twentieth-Century Poets with a 2012 issue of Forever® stamps. To read more about the featured poets, see the 2012 Stamp Preview on Beyond the Perf.

No issue date is specified.

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