Sidewalk poetry

I first heard about Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk, a public arts program in St. Paul, Minnesota, in the Christian Science Monitor story “Sidewalk Stanzas.” Every year a contest is held to determine which original poems by local residents will be stamped into sidewalks around the city. Wouldn’t it be so cool to be strolling along a neighborhood street, and suddenly you glance down and voilà, there’s this poem?

“Meadowlark Mending Song,” one of my favorite Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk.

“You see wet concrete, and you want to do something to it,” city artist in residence and project creator Marcus Young told the Monitor. “You want to write your initials. All we’ve done is sanction that desire.

“If you’re a kid growing up around here, maybe you ride your bike by and notice it and say, ‘Let’s meet near the poem.’ Or, ‘Let’s use the poem for second base,’” he added. “It gets folded into your life.”

Besides Margaret Hasse’s “Meadowlark Mending Song,” here are a couple of others I like.

A puddle,
where a moth
can shake the sky.
– Kevin Walker

Second Love
He kissed the girl
in the ballerina skirt.
It was a long one –
like the kiss –
drenching her sneakers
in tulle.
– Carlee Tressel

Someday I’d like to travel to St. Paul and spend an entire day just hunting down and photographing my faves. It’d be like a scavenger hunt for poetry.

A similar project bringing poetry to the streets: new haiku traffic signs by artist John Morse in New York City.

(Photo: Andrea Jacob)

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3 thoughts on “Sidewalk poetry

  1. Pingback: Under an Artichoke

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