to the small poem and the quiet voice within

jeffrey winke | postcard poems

Editor’s Intro: POSTCARD POEMS

There used to be more of this out there. On the dispatch and receiving ends. I used to do a lot of it myself. Receive a lot of it from writer friends. Poems on postcards. Throwing caution to the winds. (I think I did a piece on this idea for a major newspaper one time. Can’t remember where or when. Can’t remember anything these days.) Words on wind. Free. No privacy. Hands, machines touching it countless times before it arrives (if it arrives) at its destination. No other copy of the work in existence except the one finally arriving in a friend’s hands. A smile. A nod. A good feeling. Most likely keep this baby close. As beat-up and badly treated…torn, smudged or worse as this word-journey was. Fix it for good on the coop wall near my desk for safe keeping, chronic joy, remembrance…lending momentary, transportable art a certain permanence.

I used to do spur-of-the-moment paintings on postcards too. Mail Art. Whatever became of that? I remember general invitations, specific requests “Please send…” and so sending watercolors to South America, Canada, Spain…all over the U.S. Sometimes a thank you, an honor. But mostly silence. A writer’s best friend.

All gone, I guess. Like everything else fast disappearing into the new high tech social network of now, where the journey is instant, though not quite the same. Which I am certainly guilty of? this very instant. Not that I don’t miss (and still use) yellow pencils, crow quills, fountain pens (jet black ink), sable brushes, good paper, tubes of water colors, rubber stamps, postage stamps. I did a book once called PAINT ME A PICTURE MAKE ME A POEM. I still like the rhythm and feeling of that refrain. Patchen inspired that. Henry Miller too.

This is just to say I received a message in the real mail from poet/friend Jeff Winke recently…the memory (all the memories) are still with me. And the postcard’s on the wall. Haikus happen…hmmm… — Norbert Blei

The long strides of time
bump into
my shadow



  1. Para

    Love it… I would smile to receive a postcard poem. 🙂

  2. Bill

    I’ve often thought about a road trip running Route 41 for it’s full-length. Making postcards from my photographs with a compact printer with few words and sent to friends.

    I did the trip with Dad in 1958 and have memories that are probably no longer relevant. Your post inspires me.

  3. Pris Campbell

    I love this, too. What a wonderful idea!

  4. Judith Wiker

    I’ve collected all of my postcards as far back as the 60’s, through the Yaqui Village and beyond….caked with sealing wax and Tempra, perfume and star flower seeds for planting. Twas a time I would shop the streets of New York, San Fransisco and beyond to find the most avant-card to gift a friend. Soon the USPO will shut its doors, mail boxes will stand rotted and JibJab cyberspace will be all there is to touch the hearts of the hungry spirit.

  5. Sharon Auberle

    o i miss this…and whose fault is it, but my own???

  6. Jeffrey Winke

    Thanks Norb — you broke the silence — “A writer’s best friend.” Like Judith says in her comments, I do scour the places I visit looking for the odd, the interesting, or campy postcards (there’s nothing better than the proud postcard of a town’s city hall when it’s no bigger than a single-car garage or the motel postcard circa 1970’s that boasts of color TVs in every room). Yep, I’d encourage everyone to send postcards. Most people appreciate receiving an odd postcard or a handmade one among the bills and junk mail. And those that don’t get it… it’s still healthy to tweak their conventions.

  7. Jeffrey Winke

    O.K. If anyone is interested… go ahead and email me your address ( and I’ll add you to the motley few select friends of mine who randomly receive a postcard with a poem, an interesting quote from a book I’m reading, or a wish-you-were-here message. You may get something from me next week, next month, or next year….

  8. Susan Murata

    send me a snail pome…

    and I promise to return it — to someone…

    so many, many thanks for the inspiration!!

  9. Jill

    Great idea for using up a bunch of old 20-cent blank postcards I have hanging around. Thanks!

  10. JoeW Grant

    The family line’s important
    Thought of it a lot
    but the facts of the matter are
    it takes more balls to adopt

    joeW grant

  11. Elizabeth Pochron

    As one of the recipients of years of mail art from Norbert I am delighted to have a large collection of postcard poems and paintings, many of which surround me as they hang framed on the walls of my studio. Thank you Mr Blue, in memory and appreciation for the artwork that has drifted my way since that long ago English 101 class at the College of DuPage….Elizabeth

  12. Robert M. Zoschke

    Or, as you said in Paint Me A Picture….
    “picture the poem”

  13. Donald O'Donovan

    Years ago I used to exchange crosscountry postcards–often featuring drawings and watercolors–with my writer friends. We called them “Postalgrams.” I’d completely forgotten until I found this site! Sometimes I’d add a note to the mailman, something like, “Hope you’re having a good day, and thanks for reading.” These Postalgrams afforded an opportunity to get a snippet of our work in front of other eyes. It’s a very difficult task as you undoubtedly know for the marginalized to reach the mesmerized. But now, thanks to you, I’m ratcheting up dear old Postalgram Press…and, oh, by the way, I’ve sent you my email address, so please do send me one of your postcard poems whenever or never or whatever. Best wishes, Donald

  14. Phil Hansotia

    Postcard poems and postcard poems with sketches/paintings fall into a category of the gentrification of art. A gate opens and all the pent-up dreams, urges and talents, fly out unhampered by meter and form to sail into our universe

  15. Marc Thompson

    Mail Art is alive and well, under the banner of Fluxus. There are announcements on

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