Letter Board Design
In 2017, I was invited by poet Justin Runge to be Wonderfair's poet laureate for June, which meant that I was given a set amount of letters to make a poem with, which would then be displayed on a letter board in the store.
It was incredibly challenging. I kept running out letters and couldn’t write exactly what I wanted. I stuck with it, though. Having a deadline helped. In the end, I surprised myself by the words I chose and the poem I created. When it came together, it was like magic.
The Wonder Fair Poet Laureate Project was an exercise in creative constraint, but one that allowed me to think about my writing in new ways. A total of 13 poets participated in the project and when it was completed, we gathered to celebrate over a year of letter board poetry. As a gift, we were given a chapbook of our collected work and a letter board of our own.
Now that I have a letter board of my own, along with a set of letters, I often return to it, especially when I’m feeling “stuck” creatively. Sometimes I’ll make the process even more challenging by limiting myself to only a handful of letters I'll pull out of the bag without looking. Just when I think there’s no way I can turn any of it into anything that even resembles a phrase, a word will appear before me. And then another. And another.