August POetry POstcard Fest
The countdown clock is counting down the time until registration opens for the 9th August Poetry Postcard Fest. The Fest was initiated in 2007 by poets Paul Nelson and Lana Ayers. A call goes out around July 4th each year. In 2014 there were 423 participants from 13 countries and 35 states and provinces.
Once you are registered, here are the INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Obtain at least 31 postcards, one for each August day. Some people make their cards, see Brendan McBreen’s Mona Lisa above. FedEx Office can turn your pictures into cards. Make sure you print on decent card stock.
2. Find your name on the list.
3. No later than July 27, write original poems directly (1st take) onto three different postcards addressed to the three names below you on the list of poets. Just like you’d write a typical postcard, only this one is a poem and linked to the epistle form, as you are writing TO someone. The idea is to practice spontaneity, that is write directly on the card in one take. If it’s hard at the start of the fest to do that, relax, because it gets better as the month goes on, no one can publish your poem without your permission and you are writing to ONE PERSON. Review the links below for guidance ESPECIALLY the sending postcards to strangers blog post by David Sherman.
4. Once you get to the last name on your list, continue to the top of the list. No later than August 1 you then write one poem on a card daily to each person below those three on the list until the end of the month, ideally incorporating themes, tones or motifs from cards you have received. In 2013 and 2014 a preliminary list went out in mid-July and some poets started their fest at that time, giving them 6 weeks to write at least 31 original postcard poems. This year each group may start as soon as a group of 32 poets is created and they get their list. If you do not get cards right away, or are not inspired by them, no problem, but do write 31 postcard poems if you sign up.
5. DON’T POST YOUR OWN POEMS ONLINE UNTIL A MONTH AFTER YOU SENT THEM. Also, do not publish anyone else’s poem without their permission. I always archive and post mine online. Having a scanner helps to archive the image perfectly and scanners are now $100. Or you could take a photo of the image with your cellphone. Do realize if you are sending a card abroad, it may take longer than a month. Do not disclose any participant’s address online.
6. There is a Facebook page for the postcard fest and posts will need approval this year now and during the fest. During the fest I would encourage you NOT to post and any post that is not about procedure or critical to the fest will not be approved. Once September starts, anything is fair game except spam. And DO NOT spam the list about any product or service.7. This year is the first time we are asking a small fee to administer the fest. (Approximately $10.00 U.S. and a service charge. See: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1381971) It allows us to answer all correspondence quickly and focus attention on making the fest the best experience for everyone and weed out the people who sign up and then drop out. I want to be a resource for you especially if you are trying to make the shift from relentless editing to learning how to develop trust for your instincts. This is the force behind the fest and, I think, the reason that it has grown in popularity over the years. I have devoted a couple of decades to understanding the power of spontaneous composing and this website has many resources dedicated to that approach.
8. I would love to have a postcard conference in Seattle were there interest in such a gathering. I would also love to have someone take on a postcard anthology which would be nice to have for 2016 and the tenth year of the fest. This appears to be happening and we’re hoping for a Spring 2017 publication and kickoff event, or series of them.
To ensure you’ll get the call, subscribe to this blog. We are phasing out the Blogspot site we have used in years past. We send out no more than two emails a week from this blog and from www.splab.org, the literary arts-oriented non-profit organization founded in 1993.
Other pages worth a look regarding postcards and spontaneous composition: