…It’s the vehicle for getting the offering to other poets. (from Sally Hedges-Blanquez)
Here are a few things I’ve learned in the 5 years I’ve been a postcard poet:
● Postcards can be made from boxes you were planning to recycle. (Triscuits,
Grape Nut Flakes, Applegate Turkey Burgers) Just open the box and use an
existing postcard as a template (3 ¾ x 5 ¾ ish). Trace around the pattern &
cut. Or make good use of that yard sale paper cutter you have.
● Let folks know you need postcards. You will get postcards. Just yesterday I
stopped at a Little Free Library & found a stack of postcards. Leave some
● Upcycle note cards you’ve gotten into postcards.
● I’ve found that having a supply of 40 cards works. I can randomly pick one
card and write my poem. My first year writing postcard poems was very
labor intensive. I “researched” whatever the image was and wrote after what
seemed like hours of Google searches. Exhausted? I was.
● Now I’m more inspired when I write after my morning dog walk. I might
write about a plant I saw. Don’t be afraid to use the plant’s name–Berberis
vulgaris. Or use the name you called it as a child– the giant prickle bush.
The words will take you on their own walk. Look at the colors of things.
Smell the peaches ripening on the white china plate. Maybe describing the
scent takes you to the kitchen of your childhood home. You were small, but
slipped the skins from the Elberta peaches while your mom was in charge
of the canning. It was a symphony. Give us the pleasure of it.
● Stamps can also be an offering. One year I found 4 sheets of new “vintage”
Postage stamps at a thrift store. I tried to continue the theme of the poem
with the stamp I put on the postcard. This year I’m back to using Forever
stamps. I figure my postcards may be a little “off” sizewise so the extra
postage is my insurance.
● Keep photos of the front & back of each completed postcard. I also type
My poems in a Word Doc. I want to be able to harvest from my poems.
Maybe a line from my first postcard poem gets used in another poem.
Maybe I pull a line from each of my August poems and grow a new poem.
● I write my poems on the back of an envelope or some random piece of
scratch paper. The paper offers itself to me again. I also give myself permission
to consult a dictionary before planting my poem on the postcard
in ink. Sometimes I forget to see if the postcard will absorb the ink from
my pen. To save the poem from becoming a smear, I’ll tape over the poem
with transparent tape.
● I pause, sip my coffee, & look out my window to lilacs, white flowering
currant, delphinium and other plants. Consider where you will write. What
supplies need to be close? What sounds do you want to hear? (music, texts,
birdsong from the open window)
● Yes. There’s probably more to say, but you will learn as you go. That’s true
in my garden & most definitely true in my writing