2021 Poetry Postcard Afterword

September 1, 2021
Splabman

2021 Poetry Postcard Fest Afterword (as pdf)

I so love the Poetry Postcard Fest. Each year the fest allows me to experience new depths in my own creativity. The poetry side of spontaneous composition has been something I have practiced for 27 or so years. (This does not mean every poem is a keeper, but writing 30-40 poems every summer leads to a few that are.) The IMAGE side of things and the CALLIGRAPHY aspect of the poetry postcard fest continue to challenge me and there does not seem to be an end to this delight, except of course when September comes. It is my birth month and I like to go backpacking and see if I can lower my stress.

With the 15th Poetry Postcard Fest being a tribute to Michael McClure and Diane di Prima, epigraphs were easy to find and very generative for me. I used Michael’s last book, Mule Kick Blues and Diane’s Revolutionary Letters and Buddhist Ruminations. McClure’s poem: FLOWER GARLAND FROTH For Zenshin Ryufu, Philip Whalen On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the ordination of Philip Whalen was endlessly fascinating and generative for me. In it he references “foam” and “bubbles” as in:

(( physical form-bubbles
sensation-bubbles
perception-bubbles
conditioning-bubbles
consciousness-bubbles

This I took to mean the energetic expulsion of past experiences, usually unconscious, that create our experiences and reality. The practice of Zazen is a discipline to be here and now and Michael had an active practice the last quarter of his life, but to see how he renders it in terms of bubbles was and is endlessly fascinating. More on bubbles in a moment.

Diane’s Revolutionary Letters were very much like postcard poems. Both have an epistolary nature; they are addressed to someone. So it was quite seamless to vamp off Diane’s letters.

When it came down to process, I continued what I had started early in the pandemic, 2020, when the fest was expanded by 107 days. I created the poem part and worked on the image after. This gave me a greater degree of continuity and as such was helpful given the somewhat esoteric nature of much of my content and the way it comes out.

Yes, there is outright stealing. Linda Roller sent cards I think in 2019 where the poem started on the front and continued on the back. This allowed me to have longer epigraphs such as this one:

And from Tim Mateer, I stole astronauts, except mine are cosmonauts. in my poem to Tim:

Notice the bubbles coming out of the cosmonaut’s helmet! Bubbles were coming up everywhere once it dawned on me what Michael was saying, or at least what is said to me. & there is a Leo Kottke theme, or reference, in this poem and music always plays a large part in my Augusts, in my life and there was a great technique for getting postcard images by doing a screen grab of my Iphone while I was listening to something on Spotify, like THIS:

Or this:

I could go on and on but am being called to make pancakes. I wrote & sent 46 cards this year. I love how much passion people have for this project and love how it colors every August I experience which, as you know, is the longest month of the year at 56 days. Sorry July, nothing personal.

peN
Casa del Colibrí
8:08am, 1—Sept—2021

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