The essential matrimonial facts: that to be happy you have to find variety in repetition; that to go forward you have to come back to where you begin.
~ Jeffrey Eugenides
The idea for the Letter.Box.Stamp.Collect. project emerged after I learnt about the 19th Century hobby of Letterboxing. What a magnificent concept; after traipsing over hill and dale, you find a non-descript letterbox with evidence of someone else (in the form of a stamp), take an impression of it with you, and leave your own mark behind. This has become a rigorous orienteering and puzzle-solving hobby over the years, and letterboxes can be found all over the globe. Other enthusiasts, such as the Scottish poet Alec Finlay, have innovated upon the stamp design, leaving circular poem stamps.
The project starts to take shape.
Over the course of the 2013 Queensland Poetry Festival, there will be five letterboxes located around the festival site. Inside: circular poems written by current and previous QPF Poets-in-Residence. Contributions are from Jacqueline Turner (2005), Emily XYZ (2010), Jacob Polley (2011), angela rawlings (2012) and Shane Rhodes (2013). You will no doubt see, as I did when working on the stamp designs, that each poet has a rare and resounding voice.
You will be able to collect their poems at the festival and leave your own behind. There are other ways to contribute, too, so please visit the Contribute to Letter.Box.Stamp.Collect. page for more details.
This blog is dedicated to giving some background insight into the process, design and collaboration with the Letter.Box.Stamp.Collect. poets, and to documenting the exchange with those interacting with the project – that means You. I welcome your input and look forward to seeing how the interactive nature of the project unfolds.
Many thanks to Sarah Gory, the Festival Director, for supporting the installation from the outset, and to Jacqueline, Emily, Jacob, angela and Shane for participating so energetically. Thanks also to Hans Lenz, my ‘co-maker’, for helping to craft the letterboxes.