I have participated in a goodish number of mail art calls, but I have never run a mail art call. Meanwhile, my first choice for personal expression is usually poetry. Why poetry?, one might ask (particularly one who has read my poems). For me, poetry exemplifies so much of the opportunity to achieve interpersonal connection, without the baggage of a marketplace or a coherent aesthetic establishment against which to rebel. Poetry doesn't sell,and nobody agrees on what is truly good (though we sometimes agree on what is truly awful). Certainly, not all poetry is "created equally", but I've found that I've enjoyed most of all in a mail art vein those poetry exchanges I've done with others. I love the idea of putting one's heart into a poem without any thought of publication, money (which is good, because nobody makes any), academic approval or the other hallmarks of "art as commodity".
marstokyo suggested some time ago that I sponsor a Mail Poetry call. I thought this a fantastic idea. I am all about bad poetry, shared effusively, both as reader and as poet. In Mail Poetry, one solicits the individual contribution of the individual artist, in the form of a poem. No restrictions will be placed on the poem, other than on perhaps paper size. There will be no "judging", no prizes, no return of submissions, no recognition in any "big" way. In some way, I will get these poems "out", but how I do it will depend on the quantity of response. In every event, there will be some public "Moment", whether it is a public reading, a booklet, or some other mode, and in every event, each person will receive documentation of his or her contribution in the project.
Mail art calls usually have a "theme". Some recent ones I've seen use a single word or phrase, like "Fear", "Chess", "Invoking World Peace". These are probably the easiest, but I have in mind something slightly, but not materially, quirkier. The problem leading to this poll is that sometimes in life I have a flash of inspiration, as if God has defined the Way of the gurdonark. This time, though, I need to choose my Mail Poetry Call theme, and I have so many stray ribbons of ideas.
Hence, I call upon the wisest people I know to help me out.
I've been brainstorming a number of different "themes" which will be the basis of my Mail Poetry Call. In the form of "call" I intend to do, each poet will be asked to send me a poem on this theme. I like the idea of a theme which is just quirky enough to encourage people to write something, without being too confining. I trust my LJ friends implicitly on matters of quirkiness. Which "theme" among the following should I choose?
Thank you all for your help. I'll choose the "winner" based on this poll (whether the democratic result, or a quirky comment in favor of one or the other), and then begin promoting my call. Of course, I'll post the call here as well, as I'd love it if any of you wish to join in.