The Denver County Fair: Where poetry blooms

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Poetry is all about words well chosen; success in gardening starts with the right seeds. Placement, or syntax, means everything to both: While the poet needs to know exactly when to let the sun shine directly on a word and when to hide it in shadow, the gardener must likewise synchronize his watering regime, know when to feed a plant and when to hold off. The point? To help pass on the Denver County Fair's announcement that it will sponsor a poetry contest, Bounty, specifically for verse with agrarian themes, in both adult and youth categories.

Inspired by DCF organizer Tracy Weil's symbiotic art/poetry friendship with poet Drew Myron, the contest is easy to enter -- the $5 fee includes a free fair pass -- as long as you do it by July 18: Visit the website to register. Prizewinners and finalists will all have an opportunity to read their works at the fair's Sunday morning Poetry Performance in the Farm and Garden Pavilion; the top bard of the fair will also win fifty bucks.

This is, of course, only one of dozens of competitions in everything from fattest cat to best tattoo (not to mention the more traditional pie and produce categories) taking place during the four-day fair at the National Western Complex; get all the info at the Competitions tab.

And with that in mind, we leave you with this lovely poem to ponder:

The Man Born to Farming

The Grower of Trees, the gardener, the man born to farming, whose hands reach into the ground and sprout to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death yearly, and comes back rejoicing. He has seen the light lie down in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn. His thought passes along the row ends like a mole. What miraculous seed has he swallowed That the unending sentence of his love flows out of his mouth Like a vine clinging in the sunlight, and like water Descending in the dark?

-- Wendell Berry

Now, wield your pens, poets!

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