Before I opened my shop, I wanted to be an English professor. Not just wanted, but did all the things. Took the classes. Wrote a dissertation. Defended it. Applied for a small handful of jobs. So suffice it to say that reading and writing were an intensive part of my life throughout college and grad school, for over a solid decade.
So it makes some sense, I suppose, that I keep returning to a project that marries my love of literature with my love of mail. The idea is simple but exquisite: a poem, and a letter about it, tucked into a beautiful envelope and delivered to your doorstep every month. Poetry by Post.
This is my fourth attempt at this endeavor. Every other iteration has demanded so much hand-labor, they were not sustainable over the long term. But I'm four months into the latest version -- launched in January -- and I think this one just might stick. It has been a process to work out the kinks since it is no longer letterpress printed by me, but handing off that part of the project is the only thing that will allow this baby to grow.
And I hope it will because we need poetry, don't you think? And heartfelt letters. And beautiful mail. In this world of phones and distraction and motion and noise and the head-spinning nature of it all, we desperately need contact with real things. To touch. To open. To unfold. To linger over. To sit with in delicious quiet.
Much like Postscript the shop, Poetry by Post is a vocational calling. It's a project that it would be easier not to do, for a variety of reasons. The work. The risk. The time. The emotional rollercoaster of it. Etc., etc. But it truly won't leave me alone, and so here I am yet again, trying to help it figure out what it wants to be. It is scary. But as we all know, the things in life worth doing usually are.
And why? Because of the intangible rewards. Because you might just get to work with your heroes. And your heroes might just tell you how deeply they appreciate having someone highlight their work in this unique way. And it might give you a kind of validation that is better and deeper than money or awards or fame or any typical success.
So here's hoping version four of this little-engine-that-could of a project is on the right track. Even if we still have a long way to climb, the right track would be a pretty fantastic place to be.