Christina, bless her heart, invited people to share their Post-It Note Poetry journeys in a post this morning on IG. As the creator of the event, it is a long look back on the history of PINP and my emergence as a poet. (Thank goodness for finally working out IG’s search function!)
If you remember, Adam and I began this in 2013 as a dare.
In 2012 I had spent February composing very bad haiku as a form of creative rehabilitation (because I had no emotional investment in it, compared with writing fiction) and in 2013 I was willing in inflict bad poetry on my writing partner. He upped the ante daring it to all happen in the space of a post-it note.
We posted our intial efforts to Facebook (back in the days when people’s posts actually appeared in your timeline!) and friends joined in. We set up a Facebook to curate what had gone from a dare to an event.
Fast forward 11 years, here we are ready to go around the block again.
With A Little Help From My Friends
No retrospective would complete without a tip of the hat to my past curators — first Adam Byatt who shared “parenting duties” with me for the first two or three years.
Sean (S.B) Wright also helped out in the early years (especially in 2014 when I decided to take a few weeks digital sabbatical in the early weeks of the February). When I look back, the future of Post-It Note Poetry probably sat on the shoulders of Sean until it really baked itself into my soul.
I became aware as the calendar clicked into a new decade that I might not do this forever; at someone point I might need to hand it over to continue. So either consciously (or unconsciously, probably a bit of both) I let go a little and started asking for help.
In 2020, I invited eight new(ish) and foundation PINP poets to be Ambassadors to help me promote the event. My thanks go to: Sean, Christina, Rob Cook, Kim Bannerman, Maria (M.X.) Kelly, Denise Sparrow, Jude Smith and Marion Taffe. Each of these posts has a collection of wisdom on how to navigate the month from people who’ve been there.
And in 2021 I asked my Poetic Bestie if she’d come play with me in an official capacity. Thank fuck Christina said yes!
Three years in, Post-It Note Poetry is in the best shape it’s ever been. Doing anything is always much more fun if you are doing it with someone you love and who loves what you create together as much as you do.
(It is worth nothing — Post-It Note Poetry pre-dates “instagram challenges”. It flowed through to that platform in 2016 or so, really getting traction in 2017. Prior to that it was very much a Facebook thing which I very imperfectly resurrected and nurtured each year.)
I am still absolutely floored this continues and I continue on with it.
If I ever try to tell myself I am not patient, that I lack follow through, that I am incapable of committing, I just need to return to this post!
Here is my poetic journey with PINP, from February 1st, 2013 to February 28th 2022
These are the first words committed to Post-It Note Poetry — before anyone but Adam and I were doing it.
And the last words. As you can see by the end of the month I was already bending the parameters of what constituted “a post-it note”.
This was the first year playing around with more intentional forms of multi-media. Probably inspired by Maria Kelly? Here are the first and last for the month (technically the 24th — no idea what happened to the final four poems that year?)
I believe I still have all these poems, pasted away in a journal. That journal is currently AWOL though.
They got weird that year!
This was my first year, experimenting with cut-up poetry in a committed way. These were all pasted onto wee origami squares. I don’t remember now what I cut-up. Possibly Six Memos for the Next Millennium by Italo Calvino. These were sent across the world to anyone who wanted them. I believe my friend Kris still has hers somewhere.
“Get In Trouble” was my first themed month. I combined an exploration of Zentangle with cut-up poetry; words taken from Kelly Link’s collection of short stories of the same name. The intention was to use these for a postcard project to encourage people to write and send postcards. The combination of black paper, sparkly pencils, plus black and white print made these impossible to reproduce.
2017 was the year #pinp17 hit critical mass on Instagram (back before the algorithm fucked it for community). Someone of these poems have more than 50 likes — something that would be impossible for me now.
It was an odd year. I failed PINP dismally, creating fewer than a week’s worth of poems before disappearing. This is the first of the handful of poems I did.
It’s the year that PINP could possibly have died but I was determined to come back bigger and stronger the following year.
However, these few shitty poems created a foundation. They were my first digital effort, which allowed so much else to happened as the year progressed. It was my biggest year for poetry — doing two big projects (including one that was 121 consecutive days of poetry) that eventually opened the way for The Daily Breath the following year (which remains my most prolific and profitable year of poetry ever).
I decided to create a paper quilt in 2019. I used fragments from a plethora of baggies of off-cut text and returned to origami squares as the canvas.
And, the finished quilt…
I started here cutting up John Berger’s G …
…but I felt these were too raw and personal to share publicly, so pivoted on day 5 back to handwritten poems. It felt like a necessary shove out of my comfort zone, back to free-form. Across the month I combined it with a tarot pull.
It ended up here, in the true to 2020’s chaotic style, with a digital poem.
It was the call back to cut-up, this time to a favourite, Tim Winton short story collection The Turning (and my beloved British Paint Squares).
I’ve used this collection of poems, on and off, with clients as a kind of keepsake oracle. (And yes, last year, when I wasn’t sure exactly what I was experiencing, a random pull from these poems firmly cleared up what was and wasn’t happening!) At least one friend has a poem from this collection sitting next to their computer.
It was our first year of a Post-It Note with a theme.
We went with forbidden | pleasure and I went with a morning set of poems and an evening set.
The mornings were entitled Small Notes to a Non-Corporeal Lover. I used Taubman’s paint swatches left over from painting our house in 2013/4 (They’re different dimensions to the British Paint ones.) I cut text from Jeanette Winterson’s Sexing the Cherry.
The collection ends with not one, but two poems. I could never decide which one was the “true end”.
These poems now live with Cristina Rombi in her Italian mountain home.
And then there were the evening editions, remixed from Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1748) by John Cleland.
In 2022, I built/composed 92 poems in a kind of Herculean effort that I will never need to return to, for out-performing, in future years.
Thanks for being here, and following all the way to the end.
You can find more about Post-It Note Poetry in 2023 here.