Collage by Kristen Cleage
The August Poetry Postcard Fest was initiated in 2007 by poets Paul Nelson and Lana Ayers. 2016 marks the tenth year of the fest and this is your official call.
Directions to participate in the fest are linked here.
This year poets will be organized in groups of 32 and the list will be released as each group gets the required amount of participants. The signup will end July 17 at 11:59pm PDT. There will be a $10 fee (+ service charge to participate this year which will go to stage the Cascadia Poetry Festival in 2016.) The page at which to register is: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2067076
http://paulenelson.com/august-poetry-postcard-fest/ is the main page for the fest. The signup period only lasts two weeks this year and NOT until July 27, so take note and plan accordingly.
2016 is the first year funds go directly to the Cascadia Poetry Festival and is the first chance for ticket-buyers to get their Gold Pass for the 2016 Fest in Seattle. (See the link on the signup page at BPT.) A contribution of $10 covers the fest. $35 more gets you a Gold Pass and entry to all CPF events. (Space is limited, so get to fest events early.) We’re also asking for participants to cover the small costs BPT takes to handle the funds and signup process. There will be an anthology made up of poems from this year’s fest. See: http://www.56daysofaugust.com/ and http://paulenelson.com/2016/06/14/56-days-of-august-the-august-postcard-fest-anthology/
1. Make sure you want to do this. It means writing at least 31 original poems onto cards and mailing them by August 31. We’re going to allow folks to start early this year so if you sign up, there are no excuses short of (lord forbid) injuries, sickness or other unfortunate events. But if you sign up, send 31 cards.
2. Look to see where your name is on your list. Make sure the info is correct. LET ME KNOW ASAP IF NOT. Each group will have 32 poets, so each list will be a closed loop and early signees will not be penalized by waiting for the last minute registrants to sign up. This year, it pays to get in early. I’ll send the whole list to all participants when registration has closed.
3. When you see your name, send three original poems to those three people JUST BELOW your name. ie: #10 on the list should send cards to: # 11 #12 & #13. Do it before July 27. If you want to send more, that’s ok. If you are at the bottom of the list, start with the names at the very top. ie: #32 will send to #1, #2 & #3. No later than August 1, start sending postcards until you have sent at least 31 total, continuing down from your name. (Some people also pick out a few extra poets, friends, neighbors, and write 35 or 40! I will provide all the participant addresses if you want them, but not until the list is final.)
4. Once you start receiving poems, see if there is a thread, a tone, an image, a fragrance, something that can inspire you in the next poem you send. Please refer to the call and the handy links there for more help on the how of this. http://paulenelson.com/august-poetry-postcard-fest and other links there. If you don’t get inspired from cards you receive, no biggie. Just write and mail.
If you have people from outside your country on the list YOU MUST SEND EXTRA POSTAGE. From the US, a card anywhere across the border costs $1.15 in postage, or FOUR .34c POSTCARD stamps. Some people recognize that the stamp itself can add flair to the card. If you send oversized cards, you’ll need a .47c stamp in the U.S. See: http://postcalc.usps.com/Postcards.aspx
6. If you are on Facebook, check out the Facebook Postcard Fest page. Many people get excited about the fest, but I would suggest writing your poems and then chatting about it on the Facebook page or other social media AFTER the fest. Let’s try to recreate a feeling of the time (gasp) BEFORE SOCIAL MEDIA. That page will be moderated this year and posts will not be allowed if the spirit of the fest is violated.
7. DO NOT POST YOUR POEMS ONLINE UNTIL 30 DAYS AFTER THEY GET SENT and more if the card was sent overseas. Pity to see it online before it arrives in the box. Kinda defeats the purpose. Also, ASK PERMISSION to post other people’s poems. OK? The image is fair game, but make sure the poet who sent you the poem grants permission for you to publish in any way.
8. Just putting this list together is a task. If you can get a question about the fest answered by reading something here (and all the links above) please do. Leave a comment in the comment section.
9. Document your cards before sending them out. Scanning both sides is one way, if you have a home scanner. Then re-typing the poems and recreating the line breaks is the way I have done it. There are many examples on the blog. See: http://paulenelson.com/august-poetry-postcard-fest-2014-afterword/ and http://paulenelson.com/august-poetry-postcard-fest-2013-afterword/ and http://paulenelson.com/august-poetry-postcard-fest-2015-afterword-2/
10. Have fun. This fest is designed to get you to trust your gut in the act of composition. Learning about the traditions of spontaneity in North American poetry and other disciplines has been life-changing for me and if you participate with trust in the process, you’ll also experience some degree of liberation, a little high, or both. Goddess-speed.