August POetry POstcard Fest

http://paulenelson.com/2014/07/04/august-poetry-postcard-project-year-8/

http://paulenelson.com/2014/07/04/august-poetry-postcard-project-year-8/

The countdown clock is counting down the time until registration OPENS for the 11th August Poetry Postcard Fest in 2017. The Fest was initiated in 2007 by poets Paul Nelson and Lana Ayers. The next call will go out July 4, 2017, at 12:01am PDT. In 2016 there were 224 participants from 7 countries and 25 states and provinces including one resident of the District of Columbia.

Once you are registered, here are the INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Obtain or make at least 31 postcards, one for each August day. Some people make their cards. FedEx Office in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle can turn your pictures into cards, as can any decent print shop. Make sure you print on decent card stock. If you do make your own, you are welcome to submit the image for consideration in the 56 Days of August postcard anthology.

2. After you register, and once your group has filled, you will get a list via email and pdf. Find your name on that list. (You will not get your group list at registration, but when there are 32 in your group or when registration ends July 18.)

430. to Morgan Harlow Barneveld, WI - Emperor of Winds3. Once you get your list, start writing original poems directly (1st take) onto postcards addressed to the 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, the Ina Roy-Faderman testimonial and Linda Crosfield’s 7.14.16 blog post. Remember Allen Ginsberg’s paraphrase of the Blake quite: “Abstractions and Generalizations are the plea of the hypocrite, knave and scoundrel.” Or as Ezra Pound said: “Abstractions must be earned.”

4. Once you have written cards to all poets below your name on your list, continue to the top of the list. Ideally you’ll be incorporating themes, tones or motifs from cards you have received. If you do not get cards from participants right away, or are not inspired by them, no problem, but do write 31 postcard poems if you sign up.

Postcard by Germán Montalvo

Postcard by Germán Montalvo

5. DON’T POST YOUR OWN POEMS ONLINE UNTIL A MONTH AFTER YOU SEND 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 but please, during the fest let the cards speak for themselves. Once September starts, anything is fair game except spam. And DO NOT spam the list about any product or service.

7. There is a small fee to administer the fest. (Approximately $10.00 U.S. and a service charge. It allows us to answer all correspondence quickly and focus attention on making the fest the best experience for everyone. 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. There are also costs to maintaining the email list (Mailchimp) and to maintaining the website (host fees, domain registration &c.) that allow the fest to happen in the best way.

8. A group of postcarders led by Ina Roy is working to create a postcard anthology. See: http://www.56daysofaugust.com/
and http://paulenelson.com/2016/06/14/56-days-of-august-the-august-postcard-fest-anthology/

The 2016 Call is archived here.

To ensure you’ll get the call, subscribe to this blog. (The box in the upper right corner above? It looks like this:

7.18.16 - Subscribe to our Newsletter

We send out an average of two emails a week from this blog, from Cascadian Poetics and from www.splab.org, the literary arts-oriented non-profit org founded in 1993.

Other pages nearby worth a look regarding postcards and spontaneous composition are on the drop down nav button below the August Poetry Postcard Fest link above and here:

Judy Kleinberg’s 2014 fest summary with links to other participant blogs. 

Her 2015 fest wrap-up.

http://paulenelson.com/2013/06/24/the-tao-of-postcards/ and

http://paulenelson.com/workshops/poetry-postcard-exercise/ and

http://changeorder.typepad.com/weblog/2010/08/sending-postcards-to-strangers.html

and http://boyntonpoetrycontest.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/why-postcards-why-poetry/

35 Responses to August POetry POstcard Fest

  1. Christine Kendall says:

    I have been participating in August Postcard Poetry for about five years, I think, and today, January 25 I received a postcard poem in the mail from someone who apparently decided to send to everyone on the list. Unfortunately I no longer have the entire list, so have no way of possibly discovering the brave writer from Buffalo, NY who decided to write a card every single day. I’m inspired.

  2. Just got a poem marked #31. Must be about time to start again for 2014. I think. (I’m almost ready.)

  3. daniel smith says:

    Participated last year in 2013 and want to do so again in 2014, but can’t seem to find the sign up yet. I subscribed to the blog but not the FB account. Daniel

  4. How do you subscribe to the August Postcard Poetry Fest?

  5. tanyapoet says:

    Paul,

    Thanks for organizing this poetry postcard fest! It’s really been energizing and organizing my artistic practice. I gave you a shout out on my website to help with spreading the word!

    http://tanyaneumeyer.com/2014/08/22/august-postcard-poetry/

    Tanya

  6. Margarette Wahl says:

    Hi! This is my first time in the poetry Fest. I am enjoying receiving all the unique postcards. I got about 24 so far. Thanks to all who participated and I hope everyone enjoyed mine!

  7. ina says:

    Wow. I’d love to help put together an anthology for 2016. Paul, would you be willing/have time to contact me (email, phone, whatever works) to give me a sense of the kind of thing you were thinking of? – Ina (www.inafelltoearth.com – contact info there)

  8. I love the festival — appreciate very much your work to organize. Did you know that there are many free services for event registration? You can make it possible for ‘attendees’ to access the participant list, which would be the same as the distro list we receive. It would make for little to no work on your part, and so could be free for all. http://www.eventzilla.net/home

  9. Oh Paul, it’s great to write spontaneously for sure! In 2013, a great year. But in 2014, 32 poems developed their own path and brought their own torches, resulting in Spider Lace, Dragonfly Mind, published in December 2014, available on amazon. I say this because it is possible to think consistently and not revise a single line for a whole month, have the disparate souls of poems develop a coherent whole, and find a way into print. Marvelous. I’ll be there this year.

  10. Paul. I went to sign up and pay my ten buck but the link says cannot pay til Jul 4….when the Call opens. It’s not really clear on this page despite the urging to “get in early” that “early means not before July 4 2015.” Thanks for all you do to make this happen.

  11. Diane says:

    Was wondering where the $10 is going, since, given last year’s average participation, might total $2500 or more.

    • Splabman says:

      Diane,

      To offset time spent administering ​the fest, answering questions, overseeing the Facebook page, coordinating with Brown Paper Tickets, &c. Paul

  12. marj norris says:

    Dear Paul, I will not be able to write poems this year at the postcard contest, but I wish you and your fabulous endeavor the best. Write to me next year!

  13. Bridget Nutting says:

    Dear Paul,

    I appreciate your hard work and dedication to the Fest. I look forward to it each year!

    I have several questions/comments:

    1) I think the $10 charge is very reasonable and necessary. As a long time participant, each year the number of truly committed souls on the list has declined – people sign up because they love receiving the postcards, but sometimes their personal commitment doesn’t exist.. However, most people who pay are going to follow through.

    2) I know of two people locally who want to participate, but are leery about the sign-up process. Is it possible to sign them up and pay for them at the same time I sign up?

    3) I often mail postcards throughout the year to others on the list. (I wasn’t able to last year due to health issues.) Is it possible at some point to receive a complete list of participants? I would even be willing to pay.

    Thanks again for all you do!

    Blessings always,

    Bridget

  14. I’m in for 2015. I love the writing experience – the necessity of getting out of your own way and just allowing the words to fall out onto the cards. It is my hope to do a chapbook in 2016 of some of the poems. Thanks for all you do!

  15. Splabman says:

    Bless you Marge. Thanks for your continued participation. We’ll be in the same group this year!!

  16. Paul, thank you for the invitation. This will be year three for me. Thank you Amanda for opening the floodgate by your invitation! First year was somewhat arduous, last year was a wonderful experience culminating in a chapbook, and I am looking forward to this year without expectation but a smile on my face. Thank you for encouraging us worldwide–as John Kennedy said, the world would be a different place if we had more poets, more poetry.

  17. I just signed up. This will be my 2nd time. It does say the tickets will be held at Will Call. In any case, I am looking forward once again. Thanks so much!

  18. mbquilts says:

    I’m a little confused about the direction, “You may start writing poems now.” Shouldn’t we wait until the 27th or so before sending out the first cards so they start arriving in August?

  19. Deb says:

    Silly question-we sign them, yes?

  20. Sandra F. Lucke says:

    Read this person’s question ” Is it possible at some point to receive a complete list of participants? I would even be willing to pay”. Your response was “of course”. That’s an example of why I no longer join the August poetry fest. Brendon emailed me a few years ago, said the entire list of poets and their mailing address was sent because it was easier for him.
    I preferred the list of 31 poets, etc. because privacy has it’s virtues.
    I’ll pay your $10 fee, if you make the lists limited to 31 poets/addresses. Let me know.

  21. I very well could be an idiot, but, after registering, where do I go to find my name on “the list”?

  22. Sidra says:

    Just found out about this awesome fest! I’m always amazed by people’s creativity. I think I understand the process, but am wondering why the differentiation between the “first three” postcards to those below your name and the rest of the list? Thanks!

    • Splabman says:

      Send three to start. Hopefully you’ll be getting some within a few days after that to inspire you on to the other cards you’ll send during the fest. Thanks for your interest in the fest.

Leave a Reply