poetry walk

September 19, 2020

It has been a while since we mentioned the sidewalk poetry of Northfield, Minnesota. In the intervening years, the City of Northfield Arts and Culture Commission has been busy. The program, which started in 2011, is ongoing, and the interactive map is impressive, with more than 260 poems to date. There’s a documentary, and Northfield residents can even petition to have a winning poem impressed on the sidewalk in front of their house.

In July of this year, Northfield adopted a Racial Equity Action Plan and the Sidewalk Poetry program has wasted no time in showing its support. Submissions for the 2021 sidewalk poetry season are now open to Northfield residents of all ages, and all poems must be in Spanish. (Just under nine percent of the population identifies as Hispanic or Latino.) Go Northfield!

meanwhile, in Buffalo

May 21, 2020

In Buffalo, New York, the doors of the Just Buffalo Literary Center are closed. But poetry is still on view thanks to the new Sidewalk Poetry program. Several times a week, new poems are spray chalked (who knew?) on sidewalks around town. The poets all have a connection to Buffalo, including Lucille Clifton, who grew up there and whose “New Bones” appears above. Nice!

stuff we love

April 3, 2020

In the metropolitan area surrounding Albany, New York (known as the Capital Region), Colleen Wygal is a poet and an English teacher at Schenectady High School. These days, she’s encouraging her students to take to the streets (in socially responsible ways, of course) and express themselves with chalk. She’s gotten pretty good at the chalk toss, delivering boxes of sidewalk chalk to neighbors around town. See more Walk Poetry on Facebook, #walkpoetry on Instagram, and @walkpoetry on Twitter.

So…along one of the many roads that lead to these posts, there was information about a new poetry walk (a recurring topic) in Newton, Massachusetts. (We posted about another poetry project in Newton five years ago and were glad to see they’re still at it.) The new project has the excellent name Make Poetry Concrete. (Read more here and here.)

Thinking there might be a better photograph than the one from the City of Cambridge, we searched the term Make Poetry Concrete and were happily misdirected to a Concrete Poem Generator. (Poetry generators are another recurring topic.) Thus you have the silly poem-ish pumpkin-shaped image above. So Happy Halloween!

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.

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photo: James Cacciatore/Marin Independent Journal

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 walk

July 20, 2018

Every poem is written one letter at a time, but in Utrecht, a UNESCO City of Literature in the Netherlands, the process is being taken more literally than usual. At the rate of one letter and one tile per week, The Letters of Utrecht (not to be confused with the Brisbane, Australia, music project of the same name) is revealing itself in a poem-without-end. In fact, according to Atlas Obscura, the city- and subscriber-supported project is “being written by a changing roster of Utrecht’s Guild of Poets (so far there have been seven), the words known only to the next writer’s imagination.”

For more, visit this audio tour of Utrecht, including a brief audio introduction to the Letters.

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.

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poem by Fitz Fitzpatrick

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.

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