Robert the found dog card by jik

Five Ways to Become a Postcard Pro

June 21, 2023
by Splabman

From Judy Kleinberg:

If you’re a newcomer to the Poetry Postcard Fest, you may be uncertain about the “right way” to do this crazy thing of writing and sending poems on postcards. Let me just assure you: there is no wrong way.

That said, from the perspective of someone who has participated in the Fest since 2011, here are a few tips that might help:

  1. Do it your way. The general guidelines are: write a spontaneous poem on a postcard; don’t use a poem you wrote previously (or someone else’s poem!) and don’t edit. But if your handwriting is illegible, it’s okay to print your poem; if you want to make your own postcards, go for it, but you don’t have to; if you want to rhyme or not rhyme, that’s great. Don’t worry about what someone else is doing. Make the Fest your own.
  2. Keep a record of your postcards and poems. Take a picture of both sides, or make some sort of written record. If a postcard is lost or you want to have another go at the poem, you’ll be very glad to have that copy.
  3. Put your name on your card. The Fest is not anonymous; part of the pleasure is connecting the person and the poem. Return address labels are great.
  4. Make a commitment to send a card to everyone on your list. If participants express one note of disappointment, it’s that they didn’t get postcards from everyone on their list. If you fall behind and can catch up, do. If you fall behind and see that you can’t catch up, get in touch with the postcard fest committee and maybe we can find another postcarder to adopt what’s left of your list.
  5. About the post office. Your postal carrier may be a sweetheart and may love you and your postcard poems, and may be willing to hand cancel your card made out of macaroni and glitter, but most cards will go through a fair amount of machining before they reach you. Postcards are imprinted with a barcode that is perfectly happy to cover up the end of your poem and can easily make it illegible. For best results, leave the bottom 5/8” of your postcard (address side) blank. (FYI: For U.S. mailers, as of today, postcard rate is currently $0.48 for cards not larger than 4.25” x 6” or $1.45 for international postage; larger cards – even a little larger – take regular first-class stamps, currently $0.63. PLEASE NOTE: postage rates go up on July 9, so if you hustle to the post office, you may be able to grab some Forever stamps at the current rate. Click here for the rate update.)

Write poems. Send postcards. Ask questions.

See you in the mail!



  1. Sandra J Gajewski

    Thanks for the tips / reminders! It does make a difference knowing these things ahead! Appreciate you!

  2. Lf Pevec

    I wonder how many recipients of my cards aren’t able to read my awful script.
    I vow to print in conventional Roman letters this year. Looking forward to my fourth year.


    Last year was my first and wasn’t able to complete my list until the end of the year! But, I did it!! However I only received 18 from the 31 on my list. I was disappointed but also sympathetic as to unexpected events that happen along the way. I’m looking forward to another year, regardless, and excited to join in again!

  4. Ina

    This is all such great advice Judy, and wow, thanks for the heads’ up about the (latest) postal cost change. I need to go buy stamps.

  5. Arthur Tulee

    Thank you for this encouragement/primer! Good luck and good writing, PoPoFestives!

  6. Korie Beth Brown

    This is my first time participating, and these tips are very helpful.

  7. Donna Wetzbarger

    This will be my 6 th year in the “Fest” and I do appreciate the guide about the poem being the focus rather than the art or image on the card. The effort some are putting into the art is impressive and appreciated, but for me , it is the poem that is the most important aspect of the Festival.

  8. Sally

    Thx. Love your collage poems.

  9. Priscilla Comer

    Thanks for the reminder tips! All great ones.
    I’ve got some new ideas for this years fest and am ready for that final list.
    I too was disappointed that I didn’t receive mail from every single person. Maybe this year will produce more mail in. I did my part last year and waited.
    Please send mail this year 31 of yous

  10. Janet Sherrill

    I would like to join the “Fest” I carry paper and pencil with me in case I come across something to write a poem. Also make a collage letting it tell its story.

  11. Splabman

    Excellent! Registration for 2024 begins Sept 1!

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