Mail Art

Flashback: Article on poet Buck Downs in Washington City Paper

city paper - buck downsThat time my article on DC poet Buck Downs and his poetry postcard project appeared in Washington City Paper (June 26, 1998). You can read the full article here.

Buck has a distinctive style of gnomic, fragmented poems that hint at deeper mysteries and insights. Third party presses (Edge Books, Furniture Press) have brought out collections of his work, and he has self published chapbooks, on-demand books, and his postcards. I still get poems on postcards from Buck, always a great read.

At the time, I was still trying to establish myself as a freelance writer, and I was frustrated by the lack of coverage for really cool stuff going on around town. This was a window of opportunity, of course, and this article on Buck’s postcards was one of several pieces I managed to place in the weekly alternative rag. The editors typically shoved these pieces off in the “Artifacts” section, with word counts not exceeding 500 words. Nonetheless, these little articles served as some form of documentation that interesting stuff actually happened in DC.

“Civilization’s Lost” in Stampzine

 

Stampzine is an assembling zine comprised of works featuring rubber stamping, edited by long time mail artists Picasso Gaglione and Darlene Domel. Participation is open, free, ongoing, and simple: just send 20 9″x5″ pages featuring rubber stamp art. The latest issue is number 20, which includes a piece I did with the rubber stamp I made for my poem “Civilization’s Lost.” Each issue is documented in a YouTube video; Issue 20 can be viewed here.

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Here are directions for participation in a future issue of Stampzine.

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Postcard project: Civilization’s Lost

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Here’s an experiment in poetry publishing that’s new to me. The idea was planted by fellow DC poet Buck Downs, who’s been regularly sending out postcard poems for years. At just three lines, the title piece from the Civilization’s Lost series–poems based around lost cities and civilizations to highlight the fragility of languages, cultures and nations–seemed perfect for this. I ordered a custom rubber stamp to imprint the faces of old postcards, some I made from paperback book covers or record jackets. Been sending these to literary journals, poets, mail artists and friends, as long as I have a snail mail address.