2022 Postcard Fest Stats

The stats are in for the 2022 Poetry Postcard Fest. Though a few more stragglers could join Group 17 (and there is room here for a few) here are the numbers: Participants: 543 The second highest fest participation in 16 years. Second only to 2020, which started on...

2022 Poetry Postcard Fest Launch

(This post has been updated with video of the launch for those who could not attend. See below.) I've been getting some questions as the draft lists go out, so figured it would be good to do a launch with Q&A for the 2022 Poetry Postcard Fest. I do not want to...

Postcard Fest Orientation

The 16th Poetry Postcard Fest begins July 4, 2022! Have you REGISTERED yet? At the Epic Post-Fest Prompt workshop there were some folks looking for a basic orientation. We did one in 2021 which is available here: REGISTER NOW! We give thanks to SICA-USA for their...

Postcard Fest F.A.Q. + More Festimonials

Registration for the 2022 Poetry Postcard Fest Ends July 4!!! In 2015 we wrote a Poetry Postcard Fest FAQ which started like this: 1. Can I start now or do I have to wait until August? By all means start if you have received your list of 32 names/addresses. 2. If we...

More Amazing Festimonials!

When we asked for testimonials from Poetry Postcard Fest participants, we never expected to be inundated. Check this: Elizabeth Maxey: This will be my 11th year with the fest, and I can’t imagine a year without it. August is the one month when I allow myself to...

The Fest Starts in 14 Days

The 16th Poetry Postcard Fest begins July 4. Those who have registered and have 32 in their group will get their lists that day and those who have registered more recently will get a list by the next day. Starting your postcard poem writing on July 6 gives you "56...
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Poetry Postcard Fest

Is an annual literary event and self-guided workshop in spontaneous compositionwhere people sign up to send 31 original poems on postcards to folks on a participation list before the end of August. The Fest was initiated in 2007 by poets Paul Nelson and Lana Ayers, and has grown to include poets participating worldwide. Registration opens annually on September 1.

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Lawrence Pevec Encaustic Postcard Process (video)

Lawrence Pevec Encaustic Postcard Process (video)

First time Poetry Postcard Fest participant Lawrence Pevec made a video about his encaustic postcard process. Lawrence is a friend and member of my spiritual community, Subud. He is also a Board Member of the cultural wing of Subud, SICA-USA, an entity which I now...

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Sept 13, 2020 Open Mic Video

The video is produced and online. The first Poetry Postcard Fest open mic happened via Zoom on Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 4pm PDT with your humble narrator as host. There were poetry reading debuts, a couple of ramblers, some typical Zoom connection issues, lots of...

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The Poetry Postcard Fest

Postcard by German Montalvo

Postcard by Germán Montalvo

This is the official page for the Poetry Postcard Fest.

The Fest was initiated in 2007 by poets Paul Nelson and Lana Ayers and involves people signing up to send 31 original poems on postcards to folks on their list before the end of August. In 2021 there were 519 participants in over 14 countries. Registration opens Sept 1 each year. See this essay in Rattle Magazine about the fest:

Once you are registered (click here to register) here are the INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Obtain or make at least 31 postcards, one for each poet on your list.

Some people make their cards. Many places can turn your pictures into cards, as can any decent print shop. DO print on decent card stock.

2. After you register, and once your group has filled,

you will get a list via email and pdf. Find your name on that list and please make sure your info is correct. (You will not get your group list at registration, but when there are 32 in your group or when registration ends.)

3. Once you get your list, start writing original poems directly (1st take) onto postcards addressed to the names below you on the list of poets.

(If you are #8 on the list, start with #9 and proceed from there.) Just like you’d write a typical postcard, only this one is a poem and linked to the epistle form, as you are writing TO someone. The idea is to practice spontaneity, that is write directly on the card in one take. If it’s hard at the start of the fest to do that, relax, because it gets better as the month goes on, no one can publish your poem without your permission and you are writing to a PERSON. Review the links below for guidance ESPECIALLY the sending postcards to strangers blog post by David Sherman, the Ina Roy-Faderman testimonial and Linda Crosfield’s 7.14.16 blog post. Remember Allen Ginsberg’s paraphrase of the Blake quite: “Abstractions and Generalizations are the plea of the hypocrite, knave and scoundrel.” Or as Ezra Pound said: “Abstractions must be earned.” Really.

4. Once you have written cards to all poets below your name on your list, continue to the top of your group of 32.

Ideally you’ll be incorporating themes, tones or motifs from cards you have received. If you do not get cards from participants right away, or are not inspired by them, no problem, but do write at least 31 postcard poems if you sign up. This is on YOU dear Poetry Postcard Fest poet.


Also, do not publish anyone else’s poem without their written permission. Having a scanner helps to archive the image perfectly and scanners are now $100. Or you could take a photo of the image (or scan it) with your cellphone. Do realize if you are sending a card abroad, it may take longer than a month. Do not disclose any participant’s address online.

6. There is a Facebook page for the Poetry Postcard Fest but it is best to let the cards speak for themselves during the fest. Social media is a soul-sucking invention and your poetry needs all the soul you can dedicate to it.

You might want to write after the fest about your experience. NEVER spam the list about any product or service, including your books.

7. The fest is open to people who contribute at least $15.00* U.S. to the Cascadia Poetics LAB.

I want to be a resource for you especially if you are trying to make the shift from relentless editing to learning how to develop trust for your instincts. This is the force behind the fest and, I think, the reason that it has grown in popularity over the years. Contributions are welcome. *The suggested fee goes up June 4. If money is tight, ask for a scholarship. Some generous fest regulars add extra for people who are just getting by financially.

8. Ina Roy and J.I. Kleinberg and I have created a postcard anthology.

56 Days of August (Poetry Postcards)

To ensure you’ll get the annual registration call, subscribe to this blog.

We send out an average of two emails a week from this blog, PaulENelson.com and Cascadia Poetics LAB, the literary arts-oriented non-profit org founded in 1993.

9. Other pages nearby worth a look regarding postcards and spontaneous composition

are on the drop down nav button below the Poetry Postcard Fest link above and here:

10. The Poetry Postcard Fest is supported by SICA-USA, the Subud International Cultural Association.

This is the cultural wing of my spiritual community and produces Zoomuse Poems for Peace.