2024 Farm/Art DTour Open Call for Roadside Poetry Submissions

June 19, 2024 |
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Wormfarm Institute invites you to submit short poems inspired by the old Burma Shave ads that appeared throughout the U.S. from 1925 to 1963. Selected poems, called PassWords, will be featured on the 2024 Farm/Art DTour (October 5-14). The DTour is a free, self-guided drive through Wisconsin's working farmland, punctuated by site-responsive artworks, local food markets, roadside poetry, educational Field Notes, and more. The 2024 route is in southern Sauk County. Selected poems will be hand-painted on a series of signs that 20,000+ DTourists from across the Midwest and beyond will read as they drive by.

Submission Guidelines

Any writer, hobbyist or professional, may submit up to three entries inspired by any of the following topics: land, sky, farming, transformation, arts and culture, rural-urban flow, food, community, the past, present or future, or something else kindred! Only one entry per person may be selected.

The traditional Burma Shave format is five very short lines with the last words of the second and fifth lines rhyming. For example:

Farmers and artists
Know how to create
A feast
For the eyes
As well as the plate
—Jeanne Bogardus

While we are mostly looking for poems in the Burma Shave format this year, we will also welcome different or internal rhyme schemes, free verse, plays on traditional forms like haiku, or imaginative forms of your own invention.

The only strict guideline is five lines of up to 20 characters each (including spaces). Whether you’re a traditionalist or provocateur, we look forward to reading your work.

Email entries as a Word Doc to dtour.poetry@gmail.com, subject line: 2024 PassWords. Or mail entries to DTour Poetry c/o Wormfarm Institute, 28 E Main St. Reedsburg, WI 53959. The deadline for submissions is Monday, July 22.

Selection Process

Each poem will consist of six signs: one for each line, and the sixth for the poet’s name and DTour logo. The writer of each selected poem will receive $100 and be featured on the DTour website and social media. All entries will be read by the Wormfarm Team with the final decisions made by published poet and Wormfarm’s Director of Programs Philip Matthews.

For more information contact Philip at philip@wormfarminstitute.org.

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