Loving Letters

In Letter Writing, Post History, Post in the World, Post Moment on March 16, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Thanks to brilliant writer Julia Bell (if you haven’t read Dirty Work, I demand you purchase it this instant!) for linking to Post Letters from her blog, Culture Cringe. And thanks to lots of you for writing in to Post Letters and leaving your name and address for free post! We will write back to you, we promise. (And you can be Posted anywhere in the world.)

Meanwhile, this weekend, I visited Raven Row’s new exhibition of Ray Johnson’s mail art. Ray Johnson founded the mail art movement – which involved asking his recipients to add to his work and return through the post. He set up the New York Correspondence School – a conflation of the New York Schools of art and poetry in the 60s and Correspondence Schools. Hush for now, but there will be more on the brilliant Raven Row soon from a Post Letters reviewer.

The exhibition reminded me of my love for all things Joseph Cornell, though – as he’s clearly an influence on Ray Johnson. (Here’s a letter Ray sent Joseph, rather lovely – hints at another letter, in which he enclosed white feathers.) Cornell produced his boxes almost like love letters for people. He famously sent one to Audrey Hepburn, but she promptly sent it back. I’d forgotten, but I once wrote a paper for a Joseph Cornell conference about his letters to Marianne Moore. It didn’t feature, though, (rightly so) in the final book. It was a bit too woolly – but I was captivated by a letter Cornell sent to Moore in which he enclosed blank sheets of Japan Paper Company writing paper. It seems such a great thing to do – send someone the means to write letters.

Meanwhile, why not send your old love letters to The Leaving and the Left?


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