June 23, 2008KR BlogWriting

The Blue Letter

A letter in the mail last week turned out to be both letter and literary publication. The Blue Letter, an endeavor out of Brooklyn compiled and mailed by Cecily Iddings and Chris Hosea, is a series of unstapled blue sheets. The first, a letter from the editors, is chased by strong work by Jeannie Hoag, Rusty Morrison, and Fred Schmalz.

From Jeannie Hoag’s apostrophe “I Never Loved You, Connecticut”:

Connecticut, in your deepest branches
I found you unsatisfactory,
never hiding your water towers
and so the pictures would be ruined.
I wanted to think of you without water towers.

The Blue Letter, in its form as letter and in its prefatory note, initiates a conversation and/or correspondence about audience and address. Iddings and Hosea write: “It is dangerous to imagine that one’s listener is a shadow of oneself. It robs her and restricts you. What a poem desires is not an echo, but a response.” At issue here is the notion that one writes for oneself, and that the most successful of these private addresses go public incidentally. The Blue Letter challenges this idea by putting its poems into correspondence, into business envelopes, and making their audiences concrete.

To that end, The Blue Letter wants you. Well, the one I got wants me. It opened this way:

Dear Sean Casey,

Here are some poems by Jeannie Hoag, Rusty Morrison, and Fred Schmalz. This is the first in a series of letters that will appear in your mailbox at irregular intervals. Each letter will include poems, quotations from conversations and books and songs and emails and movies–and, in future letters, responses from you.

I’m off to the post office. To contact The Blue Letter, send an email with sufficient postage to theblueletter@gmail.com.