April and National Poetry Month are upon us again. To jump start my running-on-two-years dormant writing efforts, I and 19 other Kundiman fellows have committed to another postcard poetry exchange this month. We have names. We have addresses. We have stamps. We have postcards and we’re ready to go, starting today!
Here are some general ground rules that can be used for your own poetry exchange, after you’ve recruited some willing participants and compiled a list of names and postal addresses:
- The challenge is to write one poem a day.
- Find your name on your group’s list.
- Write a poem that fits within the size of a postcard to the person listed below you. You can buy, make or find postcards with images or without (with is more fun to receive).
- The next day (or the next time you write a poem), send it to the next person on the list. e.g. Send the first poem to the person listed below your name on the list, the second poem to the person below that name, etc. Keep cycling through the list every day, sending the last poem out on 4/30. Or, for example, write 30 poems in one day, and send one out each day until 4/30.
- Your poem can have something to do with the postcard image or not at all.
- You can receive a poem from someone and decide to write a response poem when you reach his or her name in your cycle–but that is just extra overachiever (though welcomed!) writing. Your only challenge is to try to write a poem a day on postcards, sending them on down the list.
- Keep a copy (transcription, photocopy, snapshot, whatever) of what you wrote and, if possible, your image. They will come in handy as poem drafts to revise or build upon or, perhaps, they are already awesome and it’s time to submit them for publication.
Or, stated another way (by Tim Yu), “[W]e each send a postcard to the person below us on the list, then move down the list each day after that, wrapping around to the beginning until we’ve sent one postcard to each person. Then repeat until the month is over. This way we insure that everyone (ideally) gets a steady stream of cards.”
Here are some of the postcards I’ve collected that will be going out to my list of recipients this month: