Cover of JI Kleinberg's chapbook The Word for Standing Alone in a Field

J.I. Kleinberg: A Postcard Success Story

September 11, 2023
by Veronica Martinez

From PPF board member J.I. Kleinberg:

Back in 2017, for reasons I cannot now recall, I found myself writing postcard poems about a scarecrow. I’d been involved in the Postcard Fest since 2011, but this was the first time I’d tried writing on a theme. It was helpful, having just that small spark — scarecrow — when I faced the blank postcard each morning. 

By the end of August, I had a chapbook’s worth of drafts, so I did some editing and put together a chapbook. Along with some rejections, the collection was a semi-finalist, a finalist, and an “as close as could be” in various chapbook contests. Undaunted, I continued to look for the right publisher — reading guidelines, looking at sample chapbooks, and looking for familiar names among the previously published authors. 

Earlier this year, I happened upon Bottlecap Press, which has a robust and well-established chapbook program known as Bottlecap Features. (Postcarder Margo Jodyne Dills is on their author list among with another poetry acquaintance, Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco) I submitted my chapbook, received an acceptance in July, and two months later, following an extremely easy exchange of emails with founder/editor-in-chief Craig Mullins, The Word for Standing Alone in a Field is a Bottlecap Features chapbook (available in print and as a PDF download)! 

To all my 2017 Group 1 postcard friends, thank you for welcoming the first drafts of these odd little poems. And to all of you who may be wondering what to do with the 31 poems you’ve just mailed off, there’s a world of chapbook publishers out there (including your very own self!) who could give them another life. 

5 Comments

  1. Clayton Clark

    What a wonderful idea & love the title of your chapbook. I just ordered it! Thank you for posting this and introducing me to Bottlecap Press which has many interesting books and chapbooks.

  2. Arthur Tulee

    Yesss! Not every spark becomes a flame, but every flame started as a spark. Keep going!! You are an inspiration.

  3. Ina

    I remember the scarecrow poems!! I loved the one I got– can’t wait to read the chapbook!!!

  4. Theresa Pappas

    I remember getting a scarecrow poem from you! (Just found it in my binder from that year.) I bought the digital version of your chapbook so I could read it right away. Beautiful work.

  5. Judy Duncan

    Oh, what an inspiration you are. Energy, talent, and the magic of a scarecrow.

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