Sunday, October 03, 2021



And it's done. Over for another year. This was year 15 for me, and it marks the first year all my cards are done by me on both sides! If I've said it once I've said it a hundred times; I'm no artist, but I'm truly amazed at how much fun it was to attempt to draw things with coloured markers. 

Most of the cards were written at my desk. I love this desk. It used to belong to my grandmother and then my aunt. Now I get to sit at it and write things. 

As far as the poems go, every year I try to work towards some kind of constraint. This year's fest was in honour of Michael McClure and Diane di Prima, two poets who died in the past year. Diane actually participated in the August Postcard Fest in the first or second year and I was lucky enough to get one from her. It reads:

Just Like the Rules Said

some of them respond
to a card, or picture
some of them
are a vision in my head
some walk into or out of
the fog
or someone's dream

To be perfectly honest, when I first received that card I thought the poem was kind of a toss-off. But that was before I'd thrown myself fully into the game, the game being to write the damned poem directly on the card; don't overthink it; don't write a bunch of drafts on paper and copy what you think is the best one. Nope. The idea is to take your pen, apply it to the card, and let the words fall where they may. Took me a long time to get even slightly comfortable doing that, but now I find it incredibly freeing. 

This year I decided to honour Diane's Revolutionary Letters. I read them, made a list of all her first lines and then, without rereading the poem, I arbitrarily chose one and included it in the poem I wrote to each of the poets in my group. Most of the time I started with the line, just as she did. For example, Diane's Revolutionary Letter # 1begins with the line 

I have just realized that the stakes are myself

and I continued

I have just realized that the stakes are myself
however I decide to drive them.
Smoke hangs heavy among
the unburnt trees that tremble
in their nervousness
knowing they could be next.
We are all sentient beings.
We bring what we have 
to this party called life
to this game where the stakes
grow higher every day.
I throw mine in with the rest.

Sometimes Diane's line wound up in the body of my poem, like this one that begins her Revolutionary Letter #34

hey man, let's make a revolution, let's give

and my poem turned into this:

Being a teenage in the sixties
was both confusing—
all that fifties' modelling—
and exhilarating—
look Ma, I'm on the pill!
Instead of making accidental babies
it was
hey man, let's make a revolution, let's give
peace a goddamn chance!

I did this with twenty-nine of the thirty-one cards; missed the first two as I hadn't yet decided on the constraint. It was an interesting way to honour a poet whose memoir I took out of the library twice and brought it back late both times. She was, shall we say, a kindred spirit.

Last year, and starting again today as it happens, I took a number of Zoom courses/workshops/discussion groups about poetry and the next batch of poems I wrote went out October 1st to some of the people I met in those groups. So far this year I've written forty-five cards. This last bunch that just went out follows no constraint or theme whatsoever, but the poems were all written directly onto the cards.

And here are all the cards I received this year. It was a lovely haul with some great poems and lots of wonderful, original artwork. A huge thank you goes out to everyone involved! It was kind of a tough summer. First there was the heat dome and we got temperatures in the mid-forties Celsius (113F) and then there were forest fires all over the province so the air was awful. Covid numbers really blew up around here (southeast BC) and it finally got into my mom's care home so we couldn't visit her for six weeks. Hard to explain to someone who's 101 and can't remember things like she used to. 

Get the damned vaccine, people! It won't hurt you for more than a second or two and it might save somebody you love.



Unknown said...

I want to rub that kitty belly! Thanks for the recap. This is year #1 for me....hope I can have 15 under my belt.
Shaun Pankoski (Group 4)

Linda Crosfield said...

Sisu would love to have you rub his belly. Thanks for reading, Shaun.

Caroline Woodward said...

So inspiring, Linda. Showing us all how to keep art and soul alive despite hard grinding years like 2021... Thank you.