What's the PassWord?

Learn about the PassWords Competition

June 15, 2022 |

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 2022 Farm/Art DTour (Oct 1-10). Five selected poems will be hand-painted on a series of signs that over 20,000 DTourists from across the Midwest 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: Come to your senses, land, agriculture, fermentation, fomentation, transformation, art, community engagement, rural-urban flow, root structures, seen and unseen connections. 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. We 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: 2022 PassWords. Or mail entries to DTour Poetry c/o Wormfarm Institute, P.O. Box 625, Reedsburg, WI 53959. The deadline for submissions is Monday, July 25.

Selection Process

Each poem will consist of six signs: one for each line, and the sixth for the poet’s name and DTour logo. Each winner will receive $100 and be featured on Wormfarm's website and social media. All entries will undergo a blind jury process with the final decisions made by guest judge Katrin Talbot.

Have a question? Contact dtour.poetry@gmail.com