|Peru: Kingdom of the Sun and the Moon (Montreal Museum of Fine Art)|
Directions: Today (Sunday, July 27th) look at the list you were emailed to find your name. (Control F is a handy tool.) See the three people listed below your name. Write them each an original poem on a postcard, put their address on the card and affix the necessary postage. $1.15 for international cards leaving the U.S. Consider scanning your cards or photographing them to document each poem/card before you send them out.
Do not recycle old poems for this. Do not compose a long poem in advance and cut it up into hunks for this.
It is an experiment in composing in the moment and your poem has an audience of one. This is designed in part as a conversation. (If you are near the bottom of the list, send a card to anyone below you then start again at the top.) Ideally, you would write 3 different short poems -- remember they are being composed on a postcard and please keep your handwriting clear. If your handwriting is lousy, typing the poems is ok. After the first 3, you only have 28 more to go. Some write more, but please do commit to 31 total IDEALLY sending them by August 31.
And please wait a month before posting poems online.
Write about something that relates to your sense of "place" however you interpret that, something about how you relate to the postcard image, what you see out the window, what you're reading, a dream you had that morning, or an image from it, etc. Like "real" postcards, get to something of the "here and now" when you write. Present tense is preferred... Do write original poems for the project. Taking old poems and using them is not what we have in mind. You may want to use epigraphs. One participant last year used his daily I Ching divination to inform his poems. As you begin getting poems on August 1 (ideally) incorporate a tone, an image, some content or ignore them if uninspired and start writing a poem a day to at least 28 more people.
Write at least 31 poems and send at least 31 cards.
(These would be the 4th through 31st people below you on your list.) Hopefully you'll get something that inspires. If not, you're on your own. Some people get few cards for all they send out. Some people send out more than 31. If you are not getting cards, or are traveling, you can still participate. Don't worry. This is also an experiment in community consciousness. Try to respond to cards that you get with subject, image or any kind of link if possible. Often newsworthy events happen in August. How would our community respond? Letting a card that you receive linger for a while before you respond to the next person on your list is the preferred method. When you go to your mail box each day, put the bills aside, read the poems you get and think about them as you compose to the next person on your list.
A workshop handout for the poetry postcard writing exercise is here: http://paulenelson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Postcard-Exercise.pdf
You may also view that handout at this link: http://paulenelson.com/workshops/poetry-postcard-exercise/