I’ll be reading this afternoon at the I-Hotel Manilatown Center with these fine poets and performers for Asian American Women Artists Association and Manilatown Heritage Foundation’s quarterly performance and reading series. Check it out if you are in S.F. Chinatown this afternoon for the Autumn Moon Festival.
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:
The Filipino American Center of the San Francisco Public Library in association with Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc. presents:
Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc. Literary Reading with
Randall Mann, Kristin Naca, and Debbie Yee
Saturday July 11, 2009
2:00 -4:30 pm
Latino Hispanic Community Meeting Room B
Randall Mann is the author of two collections of poetry, BREAKFAST WITH THOM GUNN (University of Chicago 2009) and COMPLAINT IN THE GARDEN (Zoo/Orchises 2004), winner of the 2003 Kenyon Review Prize; and co-author of the textbook WRITING POEMS, Seventh Edition (Pearson Longman 2007). He works as an editor and lives in San Francisco.
Kristin Naca’s poems have been published in Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner and Octopus Magazine. She recently graduated with a PhD from University of Nebraska, and MFA from Pitt. Her book Bird Eating Bird was selected by Yusef Komunyakaa, for the mtvU National Poetry Series Prize. It will appear with Harper Perennial in September.
Debbie Yee is a trusts and estates attorney and Kundiman fellow. Debbie’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 32 Poems, OCHO, Fence and The Best American Poetry 2009. Debbie blogs irregularly at www.debbieyee.com.
All programs at the library are free.
San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street (@ Grove)