The August POetry POstcard Fest (PoPo, some would have it) is over for 2018. The countdown clock is counting down the time until registration OPENS for APPF13 (2019), July 4, 2019, at 12:01am PDT. Potential participants are urged to register early. Registration lasts 14 days and no late registration attempts will be accepted.
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. It is the biggest annual fundraiser for SPLAB. In 2018 there were 293 participants from 7 countries and 31 states/provinces.
Once you are registered (click here to register) here are the INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Obtain or make at least 31 postcards, one for each August day. Some people make their cards. Many places (like this) can turn your pictures into cards, as can any decent print shop. Make sure you 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 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 July 18.)
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 ONE 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 the list. 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.
5. DON’T POST YOUR OWN POEMS ONLINE UNTIL A MONTH AFTER YOU SEND THEM. Also, do not publish anyone else’s poem without their permission. I always archive mine and often post them online. 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 postcard fest but please, during the fest let the cards speak for themselves. Once September starts, anything is fair game except spam. You might want to write after the fest about your experience. And NEVER spam the list about any product or service. That includes your books.
7. There is a small fee to administer the fest. (Approximately $10.00 U.S. and a service charge. It allows us to answer all correspondence quickly and focus attention on making the fest the best experience for everyone. 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. There are also costs to maintaining the email list (Mailchimp, &c.) and to maintaining the website (host fees, domain registration &c.) that allow the fest to happen in the best way. This is a fundraiser for SPLAB and provides enough for us to pay basic bills. Additional contributions are welcome.
8. Ina Roy and J.I. Kleinberg and I have created a postcard anthology. See: http://www.56daysofaugust.com/
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9. Other pages nearby worth a look regarding postcards and spontaneous composition are on the drop down nav button below the August Poetry Postcard Fest link above and here:
Or Amy’s 2018 wrap-up.