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Poem Brut #120 – PostCardPoems

By Clark Lunberry.

PostCardPoems feature my deceased father’s bequeathed collection of postcards, with retrieved fragments of language found in a shredded copy of Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past.

My father, Dale Lunberry (1927-2012), was a jeweler and watchmaker for many years in Phillipsburg, Kansas. For decades, when traveling, always with his wife, my mother, Barbara Lunberry (1929-2002), he often purchased postcards of the places they were visiting. Hundreds and hundreds of these were collected and carefully catalogued by him, no doubt intended as souvenirs, as a means of remembering the many places where they had been. On the backs of the postcards, along with the official captions identifying the locations, my father would often write a very brief inscription of the dates of their visits (these are often indicated, above, in parenthesis). At my father’s death, I found this box of postcards and, reluctant to simply throw it away (as I had so many other of my father’s possessions), I was left uncertain of what I would ever do with it. And so, put away inside of a closet, the box and its many postcards were largely forgotten.

However, with the arrival of Covid-19, and the extraordinary consequences of spending so much time at home, and, importantly, of not traveling, I found ways in which fragments from a copy of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past (mechanically shredded for another project that I was working upon) could be made to accompany the postcards, offering them a kind of poetically clandestine caption.

To my pleasure and surprise, and before I knew it, my pandemic project had taken on a life of its own, offering me even a means of imaginative travel (in time, in place), while also allowing a collaboration of sorts with my deceased dad, an engagement with remembrances from his own past, my own present, and of our own time together, and apart.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Clark Lunberry is a Professor in the Department of English at the University of North Florida, in Jacksonville, Florida. Along with ​his interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching, Lunberry creates site-specific “writing on water | writing on air” art and poetry installations, placing large-scale poems on water and windows. Recent installations have been completed in Uppsala, Sweden; Durham, London, and Oxford, England; Paris, France; Toronto, Canada; Tokyo and Hiroshima, Japan; Stanford University; the University of Georgia; and at the University of North Florida.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Sunday, June 27th, 2021.