Poetry Month: “it’s in the cards (tarot sonnet)” zine

Poets! It’s April. Our month!

I say we’re all poets. Therefore, it’s a month for all of us. To celebrate, I want to share a recent poetry exercise as a potentially generative prompt for all the poets (and those who don’t yet know it).

I used this prompt as part of the Poetry Alley projectThe theme was “cards” with a mix of tarot and playing cards. I’ll detail the steps later, but I basically pulled cards and then “interpreted” the images in the spirit of a tarot reading. 

At times, I made more concrete connections to the images, and, at others, I chose more associative leaps and/or (mis)understandings. I then turned the lines from my poem into a zine.



Fellow EAG Kaitlin Crockett describes the medium of zines — pronounced “ZEENS” —  as an inherently “judgment-free zone, a safe space for creative expression and discussion around difficult and serious and painful topics like love and grief and trauma and mental health.”

Crockett traces the lineage of these DIY publications to the 1950s. They started in fandom communities, like Star Trek, then became a political tool in the 60s-80s, and reached “peak popularity” in the 90s during the Riot GRRRL era. 



Zines currently having a contemporary resurgence, in part, as a response to the prevalence of AI in writing and art. 

I’ve made them throughout my life. They’ve been a great way for me to play with voice and style and collaborate with artists. I also like their ephemeral quality. 

And immediacy.



I went from not even having a poem to holding the “it’s in the cards (tarot sonnet)” zine, a physical object, in about two hours. 

Here’s how:

  1. I flipped the fax 727-289-3069’s card images blank-side up. 
  2. Picked 14 to match the (traditional) number of lines in a sonnet.
  3. Wrote a 14-line sonnet inspired by the order and images pulled.
  4. Collaged lines from the poem onto the card images.
  5. Made these into a series of flyers (installed in Poetry Alley for this month!). 
  6. Turned those flyers into a zine.
  7. Printed the zine. 



We’ll be discussing our process and inviting people to participate in creating flyers during this month’s City of Writers Poetry Festival. The event is called “Experimental Poetry & Collaboration” at Tombolo Books on Sunday, April 28 at 11 AM. 


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