sidewalk poetry

March 29, 2019

We’ve had plenty of posts on sidewalk poetry: stenciled, stamped, chalked, engraved on metal plaques, etc. In Mill Valley, California, they’ve come up with yet another way to get poetry onto the sidewalk: project it. Poetry Illuminated will be on view in the downtown area each night through the end of April 2019. Read the article in the Marin Independent Journal and stop to read the poems if you’re in the neighborhood.

. . . . .
photo: James Cacciatore/Marin Independent Journal

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Mark your calendar for the first Sunday of the month at 5:00pm, as a series of summer sidewalk readings present the voices of Bellingham poets. If you show up at 1507 Larrabee, in Fairhaven, look for the book box and that’s where the the readings will be held.

June 3 ~ Shannon P. Laws
July 1 ~ Donna Rushing
August 5 ~ Jim Bertolino & Anita K. Boyle
September 2 ~ Nancy Canyon

See you there!

spring in D.C.

March 13, 2019

Spring has sprung in Washington, D.C.’s Golden Triangle Business Improvement District as haiku appear in tree boxes along some of the city’s busiest sidewalks. The sixth annual Golden Haiku contest received nearly 2,000 entries from 50 countries and the judges have selected more than 300 to be printed and posted now through the month of April, including that of Sheila Sondik, above, and Michael Dylan Welch, below.

poetry you can walk on

September 18, 2018

It’s been a while since we mentioned poetry walks (we’re especially partial to the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Walk at the downtown Bellingham Public Library) so here’s another one for the list. A first-time competition in Lansing, Michigan, yielded 76 entries and eight winning poems, which were subsequently etched into Lansing city sidewalks.

Each community seems to have a slightly different approach to the challenge of getting the poems onto the sidewalk (see a list of poetry walk links in the right sidebar). Lansing used a high-tech, computer driven etching system. See another photo and more information in The State News, and visit Lansing Sidewalk Poetry Competition on Facebook.

poetry underfoot

July 5, 2018

Spokane, Washington, has taken a slightly different approach to its sidewalk poetry project, I Am a Town. Instead of permanently impressing the words into the sidewalk, this temporary project, dreamed up by former Spokane poet laureate Laura Read, uses stencils and spray paint to add the poems to local sites. The 13 poems were chosen and excerpted from open submissions. See more about the project, a map of the sites, and the full text of the selected poems on the I Am A Town website.

. . . . .
poem by Fitz Fitzpatrick

another poetry walk

December 12, 2017

We haven’t added a locale to our poetry walk collection for a while, so here’s a new one: Nanaimo, BC, Canada. The Vancouver Island city is embedding a poem in the sidewalk outside the Port Theatre to honor each outgoing poet laureate. The first panel, which was installed in March 2017, is a poem by Nanaimo’s inaugural poet laureate Naomi Beth Wakan. Nanaimo’s current poet laureate, Tina Biello, serves until 2020, when another panel will be added to the Nanaimo Poetry Walk.

(Thanks to Michael Dylan Welch for the heads-up on this news.)

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photo

poetry underfoot

July 3, 2017

Here’s another addition to the poetry walk file: Poetry Pathways in the Meadows in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Coordinated by artists Agnieszka Matejko and Jannie Edwards, with a lot of help from the local community, this summer marks the third in a four-part poetry installation.

Supported and encouraged by more than 50 poetry workshops, a local call for “original, unpublished, short (4 lines or less, untitled) uplifting poems” yielded more than 2000 submissions from poets of all ages and levels of experience. Sited near schools and playgrounds, the short poems are sandblasted into the sidewalk, with color added. The project was funded by donations and a Community Initiatives Program grant from Alberta Culture and Tourism.

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photo

Rainku!

April 5, 2017

Vancouver, Washington, is hoping for rain this month. You may recall that we did a post about Rainworks a while back. Now, in celebration of National Poetry Month, 24 poems are stenciled on the sidewalks of downtown Vancouver. Bring your umbrella or bring your bucket of water. Read all about it in The Columbian and visit Rainku on Facebook.

Rain*

September 11, 2016

Rain -  Rick Hermann
2016 Merit Award
By Rick Hermann

On the sidewalk outside the food coop, gray red-footed
pigeons dip their beaks, picking up crumbs from
gluten-free muffins with the speed and efficiency of
a good typist. Discarded cellophane wrappers
scratch along the sidewalk in the dry wind.
The pigeons stride to their next morsel, heads bobbing
back and forth on short necks, expressions dim, poker-

faced. They remind me of the barnyard hens I tended
for Grandpa, Mom’s dad, back in Minnesota. After we
moved west, near Seattle, Grandpa held on a few more
indifferent years, but my mom was reborn, re-spirited.
I remember how she used to feed wildlife outside
our home: raccoons, deer, feral cats, pintail ducks,
great blue herons, even eagles. A decade before her
death, she began to pray for rain during

long dry spells. “The animals suffer,” she would say.
Like St. Francis, she often carried a small bird
in her open palm. She prayed, waited, and rejoiced
when the deluge began. I miss her strength, her
loving ministrations to the earth, her belief
that was deeper than superstition. I miss her in this
moment as I hear distant waters gathering, see pigeons
eating crumbs on another warm, cloudless day.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2016 by Rick Hermann. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

(in)visible poetry

May 23, 2016

theres-no-bad-weather-just-bad-clothing-choices

Picture this: your rainy-day poem stenciled on the sidewalk…invisible…until it rains! Rainworks, a Seattle-based company (where else?), has come up with a non-toxic, environmentally safe, biodegradable product that does exactly that. It can be stenciled or painted on and once it’s dry it remains unseen until it gets wet. It lasts, on average, two to four months, the contrast fading as time goes on.

Now, Mass Poetry, in partnership with The City of Boston, is using a similar product to create “Raining Poetry” — four poems stenciled on sidewalks near downtown. Boston Poet Laureate Danielle Georges hopes to expand the program into the city’s neighborhoods.

Important note from the Rainworks website: “Please note that Rainworks Invisible Spray will not make you invisible.”

Darn.

More Rainworks on Facebook.
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Rainworks photo

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