Sidewalk Poetry

A collage of images from 2016 Sidewalk Poetry Contest: A completes imprinted slab with a winning poem, a slab being smoothed down, concrete being poured on the sidewalk, and concrete being tamped into place

We are pleased to announce the launch of the third annual Sidewalk Poetry Contest, designed to select poems written by Cambridge residents for imprinting in City sidewalks in 2017.

Cambridge residents of any age are invited to submit one poem of their own work to the 2017 Sidewalk Poetry Contest. The inaugural contest attracted over 300 submissions from residents from 4-95 years, demonstrating the ageless appeal of poetry. The deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.

Poems will be reviewed by a selection committee composed of representatives from Cambridge Public Works, Cambridge Public Library, and Cambridge Arts, as well as a former Poet Populist and a Cambridge high school student. Winning poets and runners up will be invited to read at the Poetry Tent at the Cambridge Arts River Festival, June 3, 2017. The Sidewalk Poetry Program is a collaborative project of the Department of Public Works, Cambridge Arts, and the Cambridge Public Library.


  1. Poets must be a current resident of Cambridge, MA.
  2. Cambridge residents of ANY age are eligible.
  3. Poets may submit ONE poem of their own work. Text and subject matter must be appropriate for the general public.
  4. Poems must be in English.
  5. Poems can be previously published or unpublished, as long as it is original work by the entrant.
  6. Poems may be a maximum of 10 lines in length with up to 40 characters per line including spaces. Poems may be no more than 250 characters total overall including titles, spaces and punctuation. (This means you will not be able to use all 10 lines of 40 characters each, but you could have 10 lines of 20 characters each for example.)


The deadline for submissions has passed. Please check back for updates regarding the winning and runner-up poems for the 2017 poetry contest!



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For more information or questions about this project, please contact Cambridge Arts at (617) 349-4380 or e-mail