Promote your poetry with a beautiful postcard

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Whether you’re a haiku poet, photographer or haiga artist, postcards are amazing promotional items to bring to a conference.

Format

The most common postcard sizes are:

  • 4 x 6 inches
  • 5.5 x 4.25 inches
  • 8.5 x 5.5 inches

Templates

You’ll find templates in many software like Word, Publisher, InDesign. Many printers offer templates on their website.

Cost

Postcards can be expensive to print.  However, the more you print, the less it costs per unit.

At my local print shop you can get 20 postcards for $15 or 100 postcards for $35. If you want something printed on the back, there’s an extra $10 fee. Shop around to find the best deals.

Make sure to order early as delivery can take some time.

Postcards

If you’re considering making postcards for your next conference, here are some examples to get you inspired.

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Postcard by Frank Carey (HNA 2015)

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Postcard by Joyce Clement (HNA 2015)

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Postcard by Bill Deegan (HNA 2015)

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Postcard by Stevie Strang

 

Art postcards

This beautiful reversible postcard, handmade by Julie Bloss Kelsey, is one of my favorite freebies of all time.

It has everything I like: great haiku, nice paper, good handwriting, 3D objects. Well done!

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Reversible postcard (front) by Julie Bloss Kelsey (HNA 2015)

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Reversible postcard (back) by Julie Bloss Kelsey (HNA 2015)

Book postcards

If you’ve published a book, a postcard is an excellent promotional tool. I like this simple postcard by Roberta Beary because it promotes her book The Unworn Necklace simply using a beautiful photo and haiku, instead of the usual book cover, making it a beautiful keepsake.

 

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Postcard by Roberta Beary (HNA 2015)

Photo postcards

These two postcards are actually 4×6 photographs printed via Shutterfly. On the back, photographer David Giacalone printed his contact information.

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Photo postcard by David Giacalone. (HNA 2015)

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Photo postcard by David Giacalone. (HNA 2015)

Souvenir postcards

At HNA 2015, Terry Ann Carter performed her beautiful Chiyo-ni tribute and distributed these postcards to commemorate her unforgettable performance.

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Do-it-yourself postcards

If you’re short on time, or are budget-conscious, you can also print postcards on cardstock at home. Just be prepared to spend lots of time cutting them. In this example, Claude Rodrigue also added a touch of color by hand.

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Whatever style you chose, make sure to order your postcards early if you want to receive them before the conference.

Did you ever a produce a postcard for a conference? Are you considering creating one? Share your tips.

Postcards not for you? Try a bookmark.

My next post will be about trifolds.

 

Bookmarks: design tips and examples for haiku poets

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Bookmarks are a great promotional tool for writers and poets. To create a good bookmark for your next haiku conference, you’ll need:

  • image
  • text
  • contact information (name, e-mail, website)
Bookmark by Frank Carey

Bookmark by Frank Carey

This bookmark by Frank C Carey is one of my favorite freebies. On the front, there’s a photo with a haiku. At the back, there’s a red seal, a QR code, and Frank’s contact information. The design is clean and easy to read.

The bookmark is laminated. I like the addition of the twine: the color matches the photo. Not only is the bookmark beautiful, but it is also practical and durable. It’s been, and still is, my favorite bookmark to use.  Every once in a while, I would see the address on the bookmark and visit Frank’s website, so I would say this bookmark was an effective promotional tool for its author.

(Unfortunately, Frank’s website is no longer active. He says he’s been out of the haiku game but continues to write science fiction. Considering I visited his website 3-4 times in 2 years, the bookmark did a good job in promoting him.)

Moon bookmark

I like this bookmark by Jennifer Sutherland. The design is beautiful. However, it doesn’t have the author’s contact information (website, e-mail).

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Moon bookmark, by Jennifer Sutherland (HNA 2015)

I like the simplicity of this laminated bookmark, but I don’t know the name of the author.

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You can get creative with the photo and text alignment, like Margaret Beverland from New Zealand.

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Bookmarks by Margaret Beverland

Why not use a different material, like a tag made of cloth?

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Tag by Wanda Cook ; bookmark by an unknown author

You can also add more than one haiku, following this example by Claudia Coutu Radmore

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Bookmark by Clauda Coutu Radmore

Kala Ramesh created this beautiful bookmark with haiku, line drawing, and decorative twine.

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Stanford Forrester used a printing press to create his bookmarks. This means he selected each font, placed them, and aligned them in a printing press, added the ink and printed the bookmarks one at a time.

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Bookmark, by Stanford M Forrester

Tips for designing bookmarks:

  • Make it beautiful so people will keep it.
  • Add a twine so the bookmark won’t get lost in a book.
  • Create them months in advance (it takes time to print them)

Are you thinking about creating  a bookmark as your freebie for the next Haiku North America conference? I hope these examples inspire you.

In the next post, I’ll write about creating postcards.

Freebie: an introduction

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Freebie table (HNA 2015)

Freebie table (HNA 2015)

With Haiku North America around the corner, it’s time to think about the freebie you’ll bring to the conference.  A freebie is a promotional item you give to attendees at a conference. A freebie can take different forms: bookmarks, leaflets, postcards, 3D objects.

Whatever format you chose, a freebie must fit certain criteria to be successful.

The best freebies are:

  1. Beautiful
  2. Well written
  3. Good promotional tool for the author
  4. Portable

Now let’s look at each criterion with some examples.

 

1. Beautiful: does your freebie have a wow factor? A nice cover that will get people to pay attention? Is it printed on good quality paper? Color paper? Is the shape unusual?

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Leaf-shaped haiku freebie by Deborah P Kolodji (HNA 2015)

 

2. Well written: Have you included your best haiku? Is the contents free of typos and grammar mistakes?  Extra points if your contents fit the theme of the conference.

Booklets by Tanya McDonald

Booklets by Tanya McDonald

 

3. Good promotional tool for the author: have you included your name and contact information? The main goal of a freebie is promotion, so don’t forget these important details. A freebie is your business card.

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Bookmark by Frank Carey.

 

4. Portable: is your freebie small enough to fit in a luggage? Or is it cumbersome? I took a picture of this beautiful rock by Jeff Hoagland (HNA 2015). Although I really liked the haiku and the concept, there was no way I could have brought back this massive 1 pound rock in my suitcase.

Haiku Rock by Jeff Hoagland (HNA 2015)

Haiku Rock by Jeff Hoagland (HNA 2015)

In the next couple days, I’ll show you more examples of promotional items for writers and share some tips about creating a freebie for your next conference.

Do you know what freebie you’ll bring to your next conference?

 

 

Haidan – May 2016 issue

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Since January 2016, Old Pond Comics is published in Japan. I’ve been working with Emiko Miyashita, a haiku poet who is writing a monthly column on haiku translations for the new journal Haidan. Every month, Emiko sends me three haiku and I provide a haiku-cartoon to accompany her article.

The publisher sends me copies of the journals, but only months after publication, so Emiko occasionally sends me pictures of what the article looks like as soon as she gets her copy.

Here’s a photo of the May 2016 issue showing beautiful Japanese items on her desk. She gave me permission to share this.

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Haidan (May 2016 issue). Photo by Emiko Miyashita.

 

Here’s the comic:

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In the distant hills

A patch where sunlight touches

The withered meadows.

— Kyoshi (haiku translated by Donald Keene)

New Year : “The Fifth Season” in haiku

haiku rhblythIn publications, it’s common to see haiku poems organized in four sections named after the four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.  But in some traditional Japanese haiku books, you’ll sometimes find a fifth section, or fifth “season”, dedicated to the New Year. It’s because “The New Year is a season by itself”, wrote R.H. Blyth in Haiku.

Blyth explains that New Year used to be celebrated in the spring:

“When the lunar calendar was in vogue, January the First was what is now about the beginning of February. Plum was blooming in sheltered places, and the spirit of spring was already in the air.” (R.H. Blyth, Haiku)

That’s why in the New Year section, you’ll often find spring haiku like this one:

Even my shadow
Is safe and sound and in the best of health,
This first morning of spring.

Issa (Tr. R.H. Blyth)

Spring turns to Winter

In 1873, after Japan moved to the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Day was celebrated on January 1st.

The Fifth Season

Some western translators who were accustomed to four seasons – spring, summer, autumn, winter – weren’t sure how deal with the New Year section in haiku books.

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Haiku, Volume 2: Spring, by R.H. Blyth. The New Year has its own section. (Hokuseido Press)

Some editors kept a separate section for New Year – sometimes referred to as “The Fifth Season” (although it’s technically the first) – which was often placed before the spring section.

Other editors integrated the New Year’s haiku in the spring section so they could stick to the four seasons known in the Western world. Therefore, New Year’s haiku would be found at the beginning of the spring section, with the spring haiku.

So, if you are looking for New Year’s haiku in an anthology or a saijiki, look at the table of contents for a separate New Year section, or browse the beginning of the spring section.

Interesting fact

In R.H. Blyth’s Haiku, The New Year is a separate section that appears in Volume 2: Spring, before the Spring haiku section.haiku fayard

When Roger Munier (Haiku, Editions Fayard, 1979) translated a selection of haiku from R.H. Blyth’s book in French, he integrated the New Year haiku with the spring section.

There might be two explanations for this:

  • he thought there weren’t enough New Year haiku to create a separate section for them (he translated 10 New Year poems, or 4 pages, while R.H. Blyth had about 50 haiku with commentaries displayed over 20 pages), or
  • he didn’t want to confuse the public or write a long explanation about why New Year haiku have their own section.

So, similar content, but two ways to deal with the Fifth Season.

What would you do if you were in this situation? Would you keep The Fifth Season?

Yay Words: tiny haibuns by Aubrie Cox (a blog review)

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Aubrie Cox. Yay Words! @ http://yaywords.wordpress.com/: A Blog Review

by Jessica Tremblay, Burnaby, British Columbia

Published in Frogpond, 37:3 (Winter 2014)

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Drawing by Aubrie Cox (http://yaywords.wordpress.com)

During the month of June 2014, I really enjoyed reading the tiny haibun (or “tibun”) that Aubrie Cox published on her blog Yay Words!

Aubrie describes her blog as “[a] celebration of language and the written word (with a little art on the side).” Some poets might know Aubrie from the Doodleku she led on her blog for many months: she would post a drawing and ask poets to write an accompanying poem in the comments. But in June, there was a sudden shift in her blog postings as she started writing very short prose followed by a haiku.

 

 

Living Things
I’ve yet to visit since you moved into the mausoleum. Every poem could be my last. Guess I’ve social anxiety even among the dead.

Sunday in the park
butterfly shadow
between the bells[1]

Her haibun reminded me of tanbun, a genre invented by Larry Kimmel, which is a combination of a short prose of 31 or less syllables followed by haiku or tanka. Aubrie replied to my comment on her blog by saying: “A little over a year ago I discovered hint fiction, which is fiction in 25 words or less. After experimenting, I started doing these haibun with prose within those confines.”

Whether her haibun are facts or fiction, they are highly effective in emotionally engaging the reader.

 White Balance
 You arrive at the Star of Hope Mausoleum, only to find it locked in the minutes you sat in the car working up your nerve.

sun showers
she brings hot tea
without asking            [2]

Rabby by Aubrie Cox from Yay Words 2014doodleku03

Drawing by Aubrie Cox (http://yaywords.wordpress.com)

 

Aubrie occasionally adds link within the prose or haiku, adding an element of interactivity to the poem.

Signs of Life
Tufts of fox fur litter the end of the drive. You look everywhere for blood before it rains.

green tomatoes
evolution
of the human face[3] 

Drawing by Aubrie Cox fox sleeping2014doodleku14

Drawing by Aubrie Cox (http://yaywords.wordpress.com)

In this poem, the link takes you to an article explaining how the human face evolved as a result of physical violence: the tiny bones becoming more robust as a mean of protection against small impacts such as the impact of human fists.

The titles of Aubrie’s haibun also caught my attention: they are beautiful, poetic, and can stand by themselves, almost like short poems: Sporadic Flu Activity (June 25), 81% of the Moon is Illuminated (June 16), Meteorological Summer (June 2).

Beyond the Limit of Astronomical Twilight

I convince myself fireflies are varying shades of yellow and green like vaseline glass.That my hips don’t hurt when I run.That we’re talking.

cilantro seeds—
all my favorite
B-side songs[4]  

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Drawing by Aubrie Cox (http://yaywords.wordpress.com)

Sometimes there is some kind of association between the title and the haibun, but oftentimes there doesn’t seem to be any link between the title and the piece, which adds a touch of surrealism to the haibun. When I asked her where her title ideas came from, Aubrie wrote: “One good place for titles and/or inspiration is Wunderground.com’s charts and stats for your area.”

When I looked on the website (which is a local weather app), I did see Sporadic Flu Activity as one of the headlines for my area. Great title for a haibun! What a clever appropriation of weather terms for poetic purposes!

Today is Forecast to Be Nearly the Same Temperature As Yesterday
You rarely write about sound. You explain there are two types of pain. You wonder if there are any other stories left in you.

cool after the rain…
mosquito larvae twist
in on themselves[5]

Drawing of bamboo crane by Aubrie Cox from Yay Words

Drawing by Aubrie Cox (http://yaywords.wordpress.com)

Here, the image of “mosquito larvae twisting in on themselves” is surprising.  We often read the same image, over and over, in haiku. It is nice to read something new and original in a poem. I said as much in a comment on her blog, and Aubrie replied: “I’ve been trying hard to find something new and fresh, though I’ve definitely caught myself sliding into some old habits here and there.”

Aubrie serves as the haiga editor for the online haikai journal A Hundred Gourds. After graduating from Millikin University with a B.A. in English literature and writing, she completed her M.A. in English creative writing at Ball State University in 2013.

According to the About me section on her website, “Aubrie Cox went to university to write a novel; she came out writing haiku. It’s worked out pretty well so far.” [6]

Considering the tibun on Yay Words! I’d say things have worked out well, too.

 

 Notes

[1] Aubrie Cox, “Living Things.” Yay Words!, retrieved June 16, 2014 from http://yaywords.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/living-things/

[2] Cox, “White Balance.” Yay Words!, retrieved June 24, 2014 from http://yaywords.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/white-balance/

[3] Cox, “Signs of Life.” Yay Words!, retrieved June 10, 2014 from http://yaywords.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/signs-of-life/

[4] Cox, “Beyond the Limit of Astronomical Twilight.” Yay Words!, retrieved June 5, 2014 from http://yaywords.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/beyond-the-limit-of-astronomical-twilight/

[5] Cox, “Today is Forecast to Be Nearly the Same Temperature As Yesterday.” Yay Words!, retrieved on June 11 2014 from http://yaywords.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/today-is-forecast-to-be-nearly-the-same-temperature-as-yesterday/

[6] www.aubriecox.com/about/

 

Jessica Tremblay is the author of Old Pond Comics published in Frogpond and at www.oldpondcomics.com. In 2013, she was the official cartoonist-in-residence at Haiku North America, Seabeck Haiku Getaway and Haiku Hot Springs. In 2014 she received a Canada Council for the Arts Grant for Professional Writers to continue exploring the new genre of “haiku-comics.”

 

A haiku is like a gem

by Jessica Tremblay

A haiku is like a gem: you can find one in the dirt – if you’re lucky – but if you call it “Preeeecious!” people will look at you weird.

Most haiku are “diamonds in the rough” that need a lot of work to become jewels.

If you’re not sure what they’re worth, you can have them evaluated: the bad ones don’t sparkle in the light and, sometimes, the good ones are fake copies.

One thing is sure, once they’re out there, they lose their value: you can’t reuse them or pass them to someone else.

But isn’t that the whole point anyway, to find one that’s unique? So it’s no surprise that both haiku and gems can be used to ask someone to marry you.

 the candy gone

she keeps the ring –

puppy love

(This article was written in response to the NaHaiWriMo prompt for July 11 2014: gem)