Dawn Trook is gaining a reputation as Merced's Easter egg lady.
The UC Merced writing lecturer says she's occasionally recognized around town for the quirky game she created last year, involving plastic Easter eggs and poetry.
It's basically an egg hunt for everyone, except it goes year-round, and it has little, if anything, to do with Easter.
Each day, Trook and other volunteers hide one plastic egg with a poem stuffed inside in a location around the city, then they post clues about the egg's hiding place on the group's website.
The poems vary from short verses to longer pieces taking up an entire page, but there's just one rule: They have to fit inside a plastic egg.
"It was just something to do for fun and a way to put poetry in the world in a nonconventional way," she said. "I think I really enjoyed hiding eggs on Easter and wanted to continue doing it."
The game's become quite popular, she says. A number of poets, from UC Merced students to stay-at-home moms, have contributed to the project.
Even more have gotten in on the search, waiting eagerly for the clues to get posted online. She even tells a story about how she was using the Jacuzzi at Millennium Health Club when an acquaintance saw her and demanded to know where she hid that day's egg.
Privacy, it seems, is a luxury in the world of improv egg poetry.
"The cool thing about it, as a poet, you get this random audience. You don't know who they are, but that quiet moment of reading a poem is sort of what the Great Egg Hunt is all about."
Trook's Great Egg Hunt will end its first year this month, and she's getting ready to launch Phase 2, which includes an expansion into other cities around the country.
One volunteer has already started hiding eggs in New York City, and they're attempting to whip up other potential egg poetry projects in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The Great Egg Hunt had one challenge Trook never counted on: It's not easy to find those plastic eggs in stores year-round.
Fortunately, after a bit of scrambling, she found a distributor and purchased the shells in bulk.
For more information on the Great Egg Hunt, visit the group's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Great-Egg-Hunt/210615972305273?ref=ts&__adt=2.
Online editor Brandon Bowers can be reached at (209) 385-2464 or email@example.com.