*****To view the project in its entirety, click here. My poem is #7 in the manuscript. ****
What is the Hobo Code?
Seen here in an episode of Mad Men, the Hobo Code was a way for hobos of the late 19th and early 20th centuries to communicate with each other.
As the Hobo says to a young Don Draper, "We all wish we were from someplace else."
"This is a code. It's how we talk to each other."
As shown in this clip, hobos developed their own unique language to communicate with each other, warning future travelers of nasty homeowners, liars, or trouble, or alerting each other to the promise of food, kindness, and warmth on the lonely road.
Where Can We See the Show or Read Your "Hobo Code" Poem?
The Hobo Code Poetry and Art Project, presented by Anastasia Clark, Broward County's Poet-in-Residence, will have two local shows (see below!) and will also travel to The Railway and Forestry Museum in Prince George, British Columbia. We were recently featured in their newsletter on p.14. Yes, like the Hobos that we're writing about, our poems will travel! "Hobo Code" will be on display in all three venues, and is part of a circulating book compiled by Anastasia Clark.
I'm very proud and excited to be a part of this project, which encompasses the work of 28 talented poets and artists, including my good friends Kristin Berkey-Abbott and Shefali Choksi.
Here is the press release from Broward County Poet-in-Residence Anastasia Clark.
"Broward County Poet-in-Residence Anastasia Clark presents:The Hobo Code Poetry and Art Project”During the late 1800s/ early 1900s, the rails were teeming with hobos and others looking for adventure. As hobos traveled back and forth, the Hobo Code evolved as an informal way for them to communicate with each other. The symbols were usually written in chalk or coal on fences or trees and alerted others to information such as directions, a place to eat, a place to camp, medical help or perhaps a warning that the law was nearby. The symbols were simple and limited, but represent a fascinating part of folklore. Using the various symbols as a launch pad, the goal of this project is to inspire new poetry and new artwork. Workshops will feature writing tips, background information, visual aids and discussions to encourage a wide variety of poetry inspired by The Hobo Code.Participants will also be asked to create artistic versions of the various symbols.The resultant poetry and artwork will be displayed at local, national and international venues- and at a formal, public presentation during April 2013 National Poetry Month.The project is expected to yield a 40-60 page (8.5” x 11”) Exhibit, suitable for all audiences and will allow writers and artists from the Broward County area to share their craft worldwide.Some hobo code symbols and information available atwww.worldpath.net/~minstrel/hobosign.htm or www.weburbanist.com:
Here is the official invitation:
The Hobo Code Poetry and Art Project Public Presentations
Broward County, FL Poet-in-Residence
Featuring the poetry and art of area poets inspired by the hobo symbols
Apr 6, 2013
City of Hollywood, FL David Park Community Center
108 N 33 Ct. Hollywood, FL 33021
(This venue will be set up like a hobo camp as we read our poems and enjoy free refreshments)
Apr 19, 2013
Studio 18 in the Pines
1101 Poinciana Dr. Pembroke Pines, FL 33025
(A slightly smaller scale version of the above presentation)
Funding for this project is provided in part by
the Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the
Broward Cultural Council.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Additional Information: Contact Anastasia Clark: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel 954-536-8311