Postcards I got 2020

The Poetry Postcard Fest: Black Mountain Style

May 27, 2022
by Paul Nelson
A year ago postcard poet Margaret Lee and I collaborated on an essay about the Poetry Postcard Fest and how it’s origins are indebted to the Black Mountain School of poetry. It was published by the Journal of Black Mountain College Studies. A year later, we offer it to you for some background on the fest and for a deeper understanding of what the Saturday, June 11 epic prompt workshop is about. And remember the Earlybird Registration for the fest ends June 4 for the fest and the price goes up a wee bit.

Sending postcards to strangers—a lost art, even quaint—has become the main gateway to the activities of a 27-year-old, literary arts-oriented, nonprofit organization. The Poetry Postcard Fest, inaugurated in 2007 by SPLAB (now the Cascadia Poetics LAB), has become a way for poets to take their first step in aligning their cosmology and poetics. The mail art movement is said to have started with Ray Johnson in 1943, so the tradition is not exactly ancient, despite how out-of-date it feels in the age of instant communication. Jonathan Williams’ Jargon Society, Fluxus, Jack Spicer, Robin Blaser, Ted Berrigan, and others have experimented with postcards as art. Building on their insights, the Poetry Postcard Fest rests on a straightforward premise: practicing spontaneous composition on postcards allows one to attune to the moment. Poets write more, edit less, and begin to experience the depths of open form, including seriality, in the great tradition of the poets published in Black Mountain Review, including some who did not visit Black Mountain College, such as Denise Levertov and Michael McClure, and some who were influenced by projective verse, such as Paul Blackburn. READ MORE.

2 Comments

  1. Jennifer Soule

    Love this project. I have a small book that was published by Cherry Orchard Press in 2019: Postcard Days
    Jennifer Soule
    jennsoule@midco.net

    Reply
  2. Arthur Tulee

    Dear organizers, I am happy whatever 32-person grouping I wind up with. Please be advised I do not mind sending to international participants, nor receiving from them their poetry and poetics.

    Reply

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