According to a March 2, 2010 Reuter’s Online News article titled, U.S. Post Office Looks to Cut Costs as Mail Dips, it is estimated that “traditional mail volume in 2010” will decrease by about “10 billion” parcels. This means that the U.S. Post Office is looking at a “cumulative shortfall that could hit $238 billion by 2020.” The main culprits are obvious: electronic mail, FedEx & U.P.S. And, while “the other guys” have surely contributed to this scenario, it is obvious that the real decrease in traffic of parcels rests with the ease, access, and availability of electronic mail.
What, praytell, does this have to do with “Postcard Feat,” the codex (published by Hinchas de Poesia Press) that you currently hold in your hand? Postcard Feat started out in 2007 as a practice website Yago Cura created for a microcomputers class in the Queen’s College Library and Information Science program. Since the architecture had to involve the design of web pages and images, Yago thought of Postcard Feat as a way to satisfy the parameters of his assignment, while creating an interesting visual project of personal, yet global, proportions.
So, Yago enlisted the help of fellow poet, C.S. Carrier. Over the course of two months in late 2007, Yago and Chris sent each other a postcard a week that contained one image plus one poem. This became their Feat, and they achieved it using Postcards of singular design. However, through the efforts of the U.S. Postal Office, Yago and Chris were able to place myriad people in direct contact with their images and texts. The fact that they were doing it using one of our most venerated (and ailing) institutes, the U.S. Postal Service, is testament to the importance of these communal hubs.
Whether you look upon the U.S. Post Office with Norman-Rockwell-piety or with po-mo derision (Newman!), the fact remains: there are few truly “American” institutes like the U.S. Postal Service. The only other truly more “American” institute is the municipal lending library. Both have lost tons of money and prestige to the Internet. Both can boast impressive caches of triplicate, Federal formulaires. Both have replaced surly practitioners with automated iterations. Both have phones that will just sit there and ring all day. In the case of Libraries, however, more people are using it and less funding is going towards it. The case of the U.S. Postal Service is worrisome, to say the least, because more and more people are finding it less and less useful at a time when it receiving less and less revenue. The intent of their message is simple: why take days to send something when you can steal it in a matter of seconds?
Bartz, D. (2010). U.S. Post Office Looks to Cut Costs as Mail Dips. Reuters. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN021815192 0100302.
A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.