Friday, September 24, 2010

The Card Catalog Poetry Project

As the Rooftop Poetry Club celebrates five years of programming, I'd like to take a moment to reminisce about the project which started it all!  In the fall of 2003 (following a summer writing workshop at Naropa), I curated The Card Catalog Poetry Project.  A collection of poems written on catalog cards by poets from around the United States, this project also included 30 artists' books created from discarded book materials.  In April 2005, in celebration of National Poetry Month,  poets from the Buffalo State College community were asked to participate in the continuation of a second card catalog project. Over 50 Buffalo State poets contributed to the success of the project, which was celebrated with a reading event [photos | audio] held at E. H. Butler Library on April 27, 2005.  After the event, a student asked "what's next?" and I thought, "how about a poetry club?" The rest is "Rooftop Poetry Club" history.  If you'd like to do a similar project at your library, the hardest part will be finding old catalog cards (I had to call around to a bunch of local libraries). Once you have a box of cards in hand, start advertising your project to the community. I guarantee that it won't take long to round up enough poets to get the project off the ground!  I would recommend giving 2-3 cards to each poet, with directions to create a poem on the *front* of the card (much more interesting!). Remember to keep track of who is participating, and provide clear submission guidelines. While we created Web sites to archive our projects, a simple blog would also work just fine. If you have any questions, just let me know!
By Irene Sipos
By Kimberly Davis
From the original Card Catalog Poetry Project. Books created by Lisa A. Forrest from discarded materials. Check out more photos at

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment! I appreciate your contribution to the conversation. Best, Lisa