THE CAMPAIGN FOR BETTER LETTER WRITING

Archive for the ‘Philosophy of Post’ Category

The Difficulty of Post

In Letter Writing, Philosophy of Post, Post in the World, Post Moment on August 13, 2009 at 10:23 am

I am finding it really hard to write letters at the moment, as well as posts for this blog, and all the while the London postal workers are on strike . Perhaps there’s a huge vortex of entropic postal anti-energy swirling around.

When I do send letters, I feel great. I know they won’t arrive just yet (so there’s that time between sending and receiving when you can be happy knowing someone will receive something they didn’t know they would get) and I know when they will arrive, they will be a surprise. A disturbance of the day. Something to remember! To Hold In Your Hands!

So it’s about a feeling, then. But if we know what makes us feel great (sending post to people), why are we so stalled writing letters at the moment? Why are our postal workers on strike but no one’s reporting it in the press? Why do they have to strike in the first place? I think it’s something to do with value. How we value a way of feeling, the nature of surprises.

O, there is such sadness at the heart of Post currently!

Holzpostkarte by Joseph Beuys

In Philosophy of Post, Post Art on July 2, 2009 at 8:25 am

wood postcard

For the Love of Filz

In Philosophy of Post, Post Art on July 2, 2009 at 8:23 am

Joseph Beuys is back (he’s always back). Showing at the De La Warr Pavilion, the UK’s eat-up-able seaside art space on the south coast, this new exhibition will bring this eccentric German artist to new people. However, I’m mostly excited that you can buy his Filzpostkarte (or an unlimited edition of it) for £10. I shall rush out of the city and head for the sea!

filzpostkarte

 

Jonathan Jones at the Guardian wrote this – which has some lovely references to post:

What does not always come across in Beuys’s large sculptures is his humour. Bits and Pieces nicely leavens our sense of Beuys. There is a joyous poem-letter about his favourite foods, reminiscent of Günter Grass’s novel The Flounder in its celebration of earthy pleasure. There are postcards made out of wood, and evidence of Beuys’s fandom of the bank robber John Dillinger. Bits and Pieces is a loving archive of one of the 20th century’s great artists, and we are lucky to have it.

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

Postman’s Dream

In Philosophy of Post, Post in the World, Post Moment on March 21, 2009 at 1:43 pm

There are many ways to write a letter, many places to write letters in. There are a good number of projects set up by enthusiastic people trying to promote the letter. Post Letters! knows the irony of its birth. (Yes, we just added the exclamation mark. We think it’s appropriate.) Post Letters! is both a description of our times and a call to action, using web 2.0 technology to promote pre-web activity. In many ways, the internet is post. iPhones are really just iPost. Even as I type, I can see to my left a button that says New Post. Email programmes have been singing You’ve Got Mail for years. In many ways, we’re Peri Letters! Always in between. A letter certainly is. A letter exists best when it’s just been sealed and is about to be opened.

Anyway, in other news – Post Letters! is looking for at least three real-life postmen or women who want to write about being postpeople. Email us. Also, we’ve just fallen in love again. This time – with the Letter Writers’ Alliance. Plus, you can download your own envelope.

Posting People and other ideas

In Letter Writing, Philosophy of Post, Post in the World, Post Moment on March 11, 2009 at 4:10 pm

James Abrams tested a loophole in the legislation regarding what can and what can’t be posted. Human remains are banned – we might say, quite rightly. But what about a living human? Can you post a person? To raise money for charity, Abrams posted himself to 60 post offices around the UK, dressed as a parcel.  Seven weeks he was bundled into Royal Mail vans and on to motorbikes! (Note also: you can post bees, you can’t post loose Christmas crackers.)

In other news, I’m still so excited about the Douceurs project – which allows you to send post to your future. What I particularly like about this project, is how it is grounded in community and letter writers as people. Do have a good look at the research work undertaken by Lauren Currie – there’s everything from working with older letter writers in Dundee to letting go red balloons in Edinburgh.

More ideas for Post Letters in the future – I’d like to hold a salon-style get-together of like-minded posties. It would probably be in London to begin with – request to receive free post and say if you’re keen to come along. I’d also like to collate Poems in the Post – an ongoing series of poems that feature postmen, letters and all things stamp. There’s  plenty out there, but I’m keen to get permission from the poets to feature them – so this may take a while. I have dreams of a post sculpture – a room, a vast room!, full of translucent thread falling from the ceiling with envelopes attached to them. Get people to write letters and fill the envelopes. I don’t know why that image is so compelling for me. If you’d like  a piece of free post, I’m taking names and addresses.

I don’t know why, but Post makes me very happy. I have this sneaky suspicion that it could make society happier in general, too. (So why not send post to yourself?)

Posting/Touching

In Philosophy of Post on March 2, 2009 at 8:54 am

Writing a letter to someone means you’re touching them from a distance. And if you don’t touch them, you almost do. You both hold on to a piece of material culture that has particular pertinence. It’s not just that a letter is much more work than, say, a telephone call, an email or – remember them? – a fax. It’s that a letter is, always already, an act of touch from afar. The hard work does, itself, a lot of hard work.

It’s a different kind of touch, though. A mediated touch, purloined by the middle man (or woman). Holding hands handled by another. Do we appreciate the touch-work our Post People undertake every day? Do we even know their name?

Keeping in touch, then, is about keeping in with touch. Post a letter today – touch out!

For more on this, try Pamela Thurschwell’s book on Technology, Literature and Magical Thinking where the idea of “intimacy from a distance” is developed and thought through at greater length.

A New Think And Do Tank For Letter Writing

In Letter Writing, Philosophy of Post on February 26, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Post Letters is a UK-based, worldwide movement to encourage, promote and take delight in the activity of writing letters and sending post. Both a call to action and a description of our time, Post Letters needs your help.

No wonder Royal Mail is in such a pickle. Only 10% of all post sent is personal, the rest is junk. Email has taken over and hundreds of Post Offices are shutting down every year. We need to give our Post People more interesting things to send – more love letters, more mail art, more strange and peculiar objects! Did you know it’s perfectly legal and safe to send bees through the post?

Post Letters brings people together to think about Post in the Twenty First Century, organises letter readings and writings, presents you with new ideas for your post, commissions artists and writers to produce new mail art, produces Post Events and much more besides. Watch this space.

But don’t worry, you can get involved right now.  The first thing you need to do is – write someone a letter…