THE CAMPAIGN FOR BETTER LETTER WRITING

Archive for the ‘Letters and Poems’ Category

A Poem by Seamus Heaney

In Letters and Poems on November 18, 2009 at 9:35 am

Elegy for a Postman

Who rowed out between islands one evening
Before Christmas, with a white mist censing
The clunk of the boat, the guttural oars
And noise of children playing round the shores.

Silent, lumpy as a berg, the mailbag
Lay at his feet. Under the swatching fog
Perhaps he is content to drift a while:
Those scattered homesteads won’t expect his call.

He seals quietly on the lough. The lamps
Are desultory markers as he gazes.
A child’s called in. The opened door blazes
On to the water. His old head nods. He dozes.

At one in the morning the lough was black.
Fathers awoke to far shouts, the crack
Of an oar on ice and calling of their names
By a late postman, locked out from all their homes.

His voice wailed out the roll-call of his beat.
The water would not open to his knock.
They reached him the next day by ten o’clock
Clad in hard frost, the bag stiff at his feet.

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Like Being Mailed Into Space

In Letters and Poems on May 12, 2009 at 11:36 am

mnailedinspace

Your Last Letter Helped

In Letters and Poems on May 9, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Following the article poet David Morley wrote for Post Letters, we begin our quest to archive Letters and Poems. Here, Robert Lowell uses a technique he developed over many years – of “lifting” phrases from letters sent directly to him for his poems. You can read more about the making of this poem in Colm Toibin’s recent and, as ever, brilliant (in the true meaning) article for the London Review of Books.

For Elizabeth Bishop 3. Letter with Poems for Letter with Poems

“You are right to worry, only please DON’T,
though I’m pretty worried myself. I’ve somehow got
into the worst situation I’ve ever
had to cope with. I can’t see the way out.
Cal, have you ever gone through caves?
I did in Mexico, and hated them.
I haven’t done the famous one near here…
Finally after hours of stumbling along,
you see daylight ahead, a faint blue glimmer;
air never looked so beautiful before.
That is what I feel I’m waiting for:
a faintest glimmer I am going to get out
somehow alive from this. Your last letter helped,
like being mailed a lantern or a spiked stick.

On Letters and Being (Slow)

In Letter Writing, Letters and Poems, Philosophy of Post, Post Art, Post in the World, Post Moment on April 6, 2009 at 11:21 am

davidmorleyPost Letters! invited top poet David Morley to write a letter about letters. In the letter back, David writes how “to paraphrase Ben Jonson, language most shows a person, and a letter in which language and attention possess linked force creates a document that asks the reader or recipient to raise their own level of being”.

David continues to link writing letters – and the defiant act of writing letters – as being part of the broader Slow Movement. Having himself created “new forms of ecological media for poetry in nature spaces” – called “slow poetry” – David thinks the slow movement should adopt our campaign for letter writing. After all, writing and sending letters is all about “local sourcing, paying close attention, taking your time and enjoying yourself”.

davidmorleypoem

David’s letter finishes with a new poetic form which he introduces: verse letters. He admits it’s “neither entirely true nor untrue, and a bit Poohish”, but Post Letters! is chuffed to bits with this first commission of a verse letter, or a letter poem. And we like very much the lines and thoughts behind “but language evolves/ for language is rich./ It’s not what we say/ but the means by which”.

Read David Morley’s letter to Post Letters! in full

Read David Morley’s brilliant blog