:: Article

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.

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.