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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!