MANKATO — Thanks to a new effort by the local poets society, riders and hikers on area trails won’t have to go far for a little literary inspiration.
A poetry contest is being held that, when done, will result in winning poetry posted on signs that will be spread out on area trails. Along with contests winners, the poems will include several poems from established area poets. The contest ends midnight Saturday.
The idea came from Yvonne Cariveau, who is a member of the Southern Minnesota Poets Society. She also a part of the team of volunteers responsible for the CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour, the popular public art initiative that so far has brought two waves of sculpted works that, if nothing else, have made downtowns in Mankato and North Mankato more interesting.
“We have a community that has a lot of great writers,” Cariveau said. “And a history of revering great writers.”
Because all poems need to fit – and be able to be read – on signs, the rules are somewhat rigid. (Visit southernmnpoets.org/contest to see the rules and submission guidelines.)
The signs won’t be mere rigid pages for verse. They’ll also include navigational trail information.
“So even if they’re not interested in the poem,” Cariveau said, “there’s still directions to a restroom.”
All signs will include a quick response code – those square symbols – that smartphone users can use to scan and listen to audio of the poet whose work appears on the sign reading their poem.
And added bonus of the effort is the connection to the work of the late Rex MacBeth.
MacBeth’s family has donated the signs in exchange for two signs being posted at the existing Rex MacBeth memorial. The city of Mankato has donated posts and the costs associated with the labor involved in installing them.
Contest prizes include $75 for adults and $20 for kids.
Of course, organizers have thought about vandalism. The sculptures have suffered some vandalism and a few have been swiped.
But overall, Cariveau says, they’re confident the poetry signs will be well received.
“The Mankato community has a lot of people that can appreciate art of all kinds,” she said.
Care to submit? Prizes will be awarded in five categories: • Up to 3rd grade • 4th to 7th grade • 8th to 12th grade • Adult -- serious • Adult -- humorous Visit southernmnpoets.org/contest for a full list of rules. Entry fee is $6 for adults to submit up to three poems. There is no entry fee for kids. Deadline for submissions is midnight Saturday.