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Postcard poems

I’m guessing that most semi-serious, not-so-committed writers like myself go through periods where time set aside for writing wanes, production slows or stops altogether, and thoughts of approaching the pen/keyboard inspires despondency. When I have a break from writing, it’s likely that most of my spare time has been spent reading instead of putting my own thoughts down. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but can begin to feel stifling after so long. So, once my “break” has lasted however long, I tend to think that if I’m finally going to write something, it had better be good. No, it had better be great. The blank page is intimidating. And I wonder things like maybe I’m a much better consumer than creator of literature and art. Because I can be so good at appreciating brilliant, beautiful things.

But eventually I’ll come out of the slump, feel inspired, and need a goal to get things going. My favorite goal has been to write a poem everyday for a specific length of time. I like to call these postcard poems because they need to be small enough to fit on a postcard. And there has to be no pressure for them to be good. When I sit down for a daily poem, I always think of William Carlos Williams, who was also a family physician. I once learned that he used to write a poem every day—sometimes even on his prescription notepad—and it didn’t matter if they were exceptional or not, just as long as he was writing every day (a couple of his poems come to mind as perfect postcard poems: The Red Wheelbarrow and This is Just to Say). I am not so steady, but know I can stick it out for about a month.

I feel like I’m at the end of some such writing break/slump. I’m ready to pick a month in the near future and write everyday. During one bout of postcard poems, I actually sent my sister-in-law (a fellow creative writer) the postcards every day. She kept them for me and now they’re stashed with my letters or journals somewhere. I would love to do this with a writing buddy where we are both sending each other a postcard everyday. Any takers?

Here’s one from last November, when I happened to be piecing a quilt:

Blue square

I have patched it together
because I like neatness
and objectivity

but the hues don’t quite go
are a little off
because it is a more subtle way of letting go
of saying I mean it,
I don’t care

in a secret,
sort of way


{Image from artellaland.com}


I am a children's librarian. I have 2 kids. I have a professor for a husband. I obsess about writing and about making things.

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No Responses

  1. Liz says:

    This is something I’d be interested in (as long as their wasn’t a “quality” clause). 😉

    I think it would be an amazing thing to start some kind of mailing circuit where you could get poems from sisters all over the world.

    I would finally have a good reason to check my mail more often…

  2. Deborah says:

    I love this idea. I’ll play.

    Could we create a temporary, 30-day spin-off blog for the three to ?? of us interested in this creativity challenge? I could use a poetic jump-start. Or an e-mail ring?

  3. Caroline says:

    I want to do it too!

    Brooke, loved the quilt poem.

  4. BiV says:

    Count me in! And I think the blog idea would work wonderfully.

  5. Deborah says:

    If we start December first, we could create our own form of advent calendar — something to “open up” and “offer” each day!

  6. Maralise says:

    I’m game! Oh yes, I don’t write poetry. Nor do I consider myself a Writer. But, I want to play!

  7. Brooke says:

    So, here’s what we’ll do. Starting Dec. 1st and going until Dec. 31st we’ll have our postcard poem blog, and anyone who wants to can contribute their poem in the comments for the post of that day (if that makes sense). I’ll set it up and all you need to do is get inspired & watch for a post here at Exponent blog from Deborah or myself giving the details. I’m so excited!!

  8. Emma says:

    I think I remember that quilt! Beautiful. Love the poem, keep them coming.

  9. Scaricari says:

    I would love to play; unfortunately, it is almost the end of the month! I am working on a Postcard Poem idea myself. Maybe we could talk about it. Oh, and I think Karen Peris has the most beautiful voice in the world.


  10. BiV says:

    Hey Brooke, Have you set up a blog for our poetry yet?? In Saudi December 1st will be here in less than 18 hours!

    This is very motivating. I can’t wait to start writing, and to see everyone else’s poems!

  11. Deborah says:

    Look for an announcement from Brooke tomorrow with the new site address. This is going to be fun!

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