Intro to Postcard Poems, July 2007
For the past several summers, Kundiman, a New York-based organization dedicated to supporting Asian American poetry, has sponsored a retreat for poets at the University of
Virginia. In June 2007, young Asian American poets from all over the country gathered for five intensive days of workshops, readings, master classes, and friendship. The commitment to collective and collaborative work that developed over the course of the week continued beyond the retreat’s conclusion, when many of us—perhaps just from a stubborn unwillingness to let go of the community that
formed in Charlottesville—engaged in an exchange of postcard poems for the month of July.
The scope was a little overwhelming—well over a dozen poets participated—but as the cards poured in, the variety and depth of the work made it seem well worth it. As the month went on, some of us posted our own postcards and others’ on Flickr so that everyone, not just the recipients, could enjoy them. You could see that some of us pursued a consistent theme throughout the month, while others remained committed to the occasional; some of us responded to the images on our cards, while others wrote blithely free of them; and the cards themselves ranged from the homemade to the elegant to the touristically tacky.
What follows is a sampler from the dozens (hundreds?) of postcards we wrote during that month of July. It offers a glimpse into an Asian American writing community that is still going strong—indeed, as I write this, another postcard exchange, with even more participants, is well under way.