At some point many moons ago, I said I was planning to take photos of my thesis project to document the broadsides as well as the envelopes. Well, I finally had the opportunity to make good on that promise -- with thanks to a family friend who is outfitted with great soft box lighting and stands. Exactly one year ago now, I was working madly on the following broadside, which was sent out in early November. The poem is, appropriately, "Slices of November," by my late friend Jennie Kinneberg Wrisley.
December's mailing was entitled "New Year's Letter to All the Friends I've Estranged by Not Writing" by Eric McHenry, author of Potscrubber Lullabies (as well as a book of children's poetry that we totally adore in this household, Mommy Daddy Evan Sage).
The third mailing, which actually ended up being sent out last, featured Catherine Tufariello's "Meditation in Middle Age." Tufariello is the author of Keeping My Name.
And finally, I was grateful to work with Ted Kooser's 1997 Valentine poem, "Tracks," for my February mailing. Ted Kooser was perhaps responsible for this entire project, albeit in a very roundabout way. For years, he sent a postcard every Valentine's Day bearing a love poem. I loved the experience of receiving those postcards so much I guess I had to try to recreate it in my own way.
The analysis format remained the same throughout the project, so it's fun to see these all together as a set.
In addition to using vintage stamps on the mailers, I also used them on the postcards that were included in the analysis structure. Readers could tear off the final panel of the accordion, write their own observations about or responses to the poems, and then send them back my direction.
There you have it. Although the stretch from October to March was insanely intense, I am glad to have stuck with this wild idea. It was a special project to me in so many ways -- to be able to work directly with poets, to have the opportunity to write poetic analysis, to have an immediate audience who I got to interact with once the mailings were sent... despite some bumps and snags, the project accomplished exactly what I hoped and gave me so much in return. I have hit upon an idea here that is really and truly perfect for my interests, and I'm eager to find a way to continue it once my new studio is operational.