Friday, May 14, 2010

POSTCARD MEMOIRS

So, this isn't my great idea. It's actually stolen from the lovely brain of Sonja Livingston, who manages this awesome project called Postcard Memoirs. (It helps even more that Sonja is one of those super-sweet-in-person, writes-in-multiple-genres people. I got to hang out with her at this year's AWP conference, and I just love her.) I highly recommend you check this link out, as it will probably inspire even the busiest writers to start their own postcard project.

Some of us have seen postcard poetry prompts before. They're used in productive workshops because they work perfectly for both professionals and beginners. The idea is to keep things short, concise, precise, and of course, visual. These are tiny poems, usually written on the backs of postcards or photos, that make the image 'pop' just a little more than the eye can manage alone.

Anyway, Lish McBride, my writing buddy in Seattle, posted a link to Postcard Memoirs a couple weeks ago on facebook and I've been thinking about it off and on since. My first thought: who buys postcards? Where can I find some? Well, I found a couple snapshots I thought about using, and that could work just as well as an actual postcard. However, I drove into Denver today and stopped at the Tattered Cover to peruse the poetry section. (I sifted through all authors V-Z, thank you. Quite productive.) They have a stand of postcards there that I hovered over like a moth at a lamp post. I found seven great images, all of them connected in some weird way. My favorites were prints of Quint Buchholz's work, and I googled him when I got home. Totally. Awesome. Here's a link to one of his pages; it's auf deutsch, but I think the site is (visually) explanatory enough to navigate. His best works, in my opinion, are the ones that show the impossible looking simply accomplished.

Okay. So, the point of this post is, I think I'm going to take part in Sonja's postcard project, albeit from a distance, since I can't attend the workshop. I have a blank journal that a friend of mine gave to me for my birthday that hasn't been used yet. I dug it out of the YA section of my library (what was it doing there?) and it's currently sitting on the table, next to my stack of postcards, demanding to be written in. (Of course, it's also sitting next to a couple bills, my textbooks for this summer, three cookbooks, a lit journal, a pile of pens that don't work (why am I keeping these?) and two empty water bottles. I may consider organizing myself tomorrow.) I'm going to keep looking for postcards (I'd love to find more of Buchholz's stuff) and put them on opposite pages from the short poems I'm writing. I'll keep the poems written in pencil so I can edit as needed later, and the journal will just be for my own satisfaction. Unless, of course, someone insists on publishing it later. Heh.

Here's tonight's first (tiny!) poem in this project, which is linked to THIS painting by Buchholz. (I really hope the link works. The painting is awesome.)


ROOFTOP COWS

For an extra fifty dollars

a night you can book

our penthouse suite

which includes access

to our rooftop garden

and resident dairy cows.

Enjoy the view of the city

and feel free to smoke;

try not to speak directly

to the cows, however,

as they are constantly

wanting to know where

they are, and we find

keeping them unaware

is part of this great

establishment’s charm.


...

1 comment:

Monet said...

I've yet to hear of this...and I think it is a brilliant exercise. The picture and subsequent poem both provoke thought about housewives raising hens, couples growing eggplants, and this renewed desire to return agriculture to the city. I enjoyed both the poem and the picture. I only wish we could make an actual postcard because I would certainly buy it.