The Department of Public Works and Public Art Saint Paul invite residents to leave their own mark on the city and bring some poetry to the lives of locals. All residents of St. Paul can enter this unique annual contest. Up to 5 poets will receive a $150 prize and citywide honor! Winning poems will be permanently published on city sidewalks.
Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk is a project by Marcus Young, City Artist in Residence. He says "Sidewalks are the blank pages of our city as a book." An excerpt from an introduction he wrote about the Everyday Poems project:
It is obvious that sidewalks are important to our city. We use them, repair them, and want them to be smooth. Not always obvious is how poetry is just as essential, if not more so. We live both in the physical world and in the world of metaphors and dreams. We should use poems more often, repair them when they are not smooth, and delight in them when they serve us well.As a lover of poetry and I couldn't agree more.
Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk is inspired by the universal, childish desire to draw a finger through tempting wet cement. The project also has higher-minded aspiration. Our public realm, crowded with commercial and regulatory text, could use more poetry. On our modest sidewalks, we hope to create delightful moments of open-air reading, and make public and common the beauty in our hearts as expressed by our poets. Beautiful poetry can be as present and plain as sidewalk, as grass and sky.
All residents of Saint Paul are eligible to enter the contest, except for past winners. The poems must fit within a maximum of 10 lines, 40 characters per line including spaces, and 250 characters overall including spaces. The deadline to enter is Sunday, March 28, 2010, at midnight. Winners will be announced by May 1, 2010. Read the rest of the St. Paul sidewalk poetry contest guidelines here.
Additionally, if you're curious about seeing and reading the poetry, there is a map of St. Paul's Sidewalk Poetry. I don't live in Saint Paul, so I can't enter the contest, but I can take a look at some of the work that's already been written!