Before You Subscribe
[Please note that if you have a current subscription to the Letters From The Sea Tower, you can subscribe to Puzzle Pieces at a discounted rate using the listing here and your monthly poems will arrive in the same envelope with your letters.]
Thank you for giving a thought to this snail mail poetry project! Please take a look at these specifications before you place your order, so you can be sure you understand how the subscription works.
One-Time Purchase: If you select this option, you are signing up to receive just one poem —a perfect option if this project sounds fascinating to you but you’re not sure you’re ready for an auto-renewing subscription and you just want to see more.
Subscribe: If you select this option, you are signing up to receive Puzzle Pieces as a subscription that will auto-renew each month. You can cancel your subscription at any time. Until you cancel, your selected payment method will be billed $6.50 on the first day of every month for the new poem I'm writing that month. The poem will be mailed to you sometime during that month.
The purpose of this project is to connect people with the meaningful craft of poetry and to offset the interpersonal isolation of our time. Puzzle Pieces includes free global shipping and the majority of your subscription cost goes towards postage, packaging, and the handmade cotton rag paper I use to print the poems. Anything left over helps to buy me the hours I put into creating these pieces each month.
What Is This Listing All About?
Puzzle Pieces is me writing a brand new poem every month of the year and printing limited, signed copies of it on unique artisan paper and mailing them out in the post, often accompanied by a writer’s note. You will be receiving a newly-written, yet-to-be-published poem each month and one that’s not available anywhere else (some of these pieces may later appear in print or online). Also, you’re encouraged to send responses straight to me by post if you feel like it, and if you send me one of your own poems, I promise to give it a focused reading and write you back as my schedule allows. Because writing and exploring meaning and figuring out the world and living can be lonely things if there aren’t people alongside us. And I want to bring back the glorious old custom of paying full attention to people with the slow sincerity of snail mail. Reading poems online can be a source of great enjoyment and interest. Reading them in a printed literary magazine is, I think, even better. But receiving them in your mailbox straight from the writer is certainly best of all. I want to extend that to you.
I believe poetry is one of the primary ways we distill meaning from the world as we pass through time and grapple with the puzzles of existence: why life? Why grief? What is death? What is love? Who, what, where, why, when, and how is God? For me, writing and reading poetry is about finding what Madeleine L'Engle calls "cosmos in chaos." Despite what sometimes seems like strong evidence to the contrary, I believe that our lives are hemmed about by pattern and purpose, that there is a point to which all things are sharpening, and that there is a home for all our longings. That’s why I write poetry: because poetry is an extraction and presentation of meaning. And meaning is the key to courage. If our lives have meaning, if what we do matters, we will have courage, because we can’t afford not to. This, I think, is what Garrison Keillor was talking about when he wrote “the meaning of poetry is to give courage.”
The thing about poetry is that a poem needs to be read and understood in order to fulfill its reason for being, because a poem is only one side of a conversation. The circle of discussion has to be completed by a reader. While I have dozens of poems in print already and have lately begun seeking publication for my more recent work, the process of having poetry published is long and time-consuming. When a poem is accepted for publication, it’s typically published months or even years after it was written. And I want to do something different, something more personal and neighborly than consigning all my work to an editorial team for a literary magazine that very few people will encounter. That’s where this project comes in.
What Kind of Poetry Is It?
I’ve been toiling away at the craft of poetry since I was about nine years old, when I filled a small red ladybug notebook with very bad but very deeply-felt poems, mostly composed while doing household chores or riding my bike in endless circles on the cement slab outside our apartment in Ankara.
Seventeen years later, after astonishing myself by receiving several thousand dollars in international poetry competitions, seeing my poems in appear in over a dozen literary journals, and taking two semesters of university poetry workshops, I see poetry as the peak of my artistic joys. I think it’s the way I best engage with the vast questions that are pressing on all of us and sometimes threaten to overwhelm us altogether. Poetry is the art form I take most seriously, typically spending five to eight hours on each piece, because to me, crafting a poem is like creating a puzzle for readers; a puzzle that’s aesthetically fascinating even before it’s understood, and wealthy with meaning once it’s been well-considered.
If you'd like to read some of my published poetry in order to get a clearer idea about what I write, you can find links to some of my poems over on the Publications page.
Other Subscription Options
Subscribe To The Letters From The Sea Tower
This listing offers a range of different subscription options. You can choose to purchase just the current letter or sign up for an auto-renewing subscription. You can also purchase prepaid auto-renewing subscriptions for discounted rates.
Select a Past Letter
Look through teaser photos of letters from previous months and pick one that fascinates you.
Pick-Your-Own Past Letters (Discounted Bundle of Six)
This listing allows you to enjoy six past letters of your choice at a significant discount when you order them all together.
Surprise Me: Original Watercolor Travel Sketches
A limited number of surprise ORIGINAL watercolor travel sketches are available each month and you don't have to be a subscriber of any kind to get them.