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 winners of the third annual Sidewalk Poetry Contest whose poems will be imprinted in the concrete of 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.

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.


Winners & Runners Up of the
2017 Sidewalk Poetry Contest

Winners of the Sidewalk Poetry Contest


David Morin, age 49

"You shouldn't make faces,
they'll stick that way."
A little white lie
we hear grownups say.
But watch how you act,
for one thing is true -
Though faces don't stick,
personalities do.


Talk this Walk
Fred Woods, age 73

I'm a poem.
Speak my words
while you're walking.
Now you are the sidewalk
Step on me-
there you go-
now you've got poetry
in your sole.


Wise Words

Julie Seifert, age 27

Wild flowers
don't worry,
she told me.
They just go on
whether anyone is
or not.


In Lieu of Flowers
Lisa DeSiro, age 46

I gave her a bouquet
one Mother’s Day when I was little.
Backyard daffodils
cut with the kitchen-drawer scissors
and left on her placemat,
wrapped in a damp paper towel.
What can I offer now?


a moment
Tingyu Liu, age 28

this morning i caught
your breath beneath my ribs and
relearned how to breathe
outside the birdsong
paused for a second, poised on
the edge of a trill
and the homeless man
silenced his coins by cupping
his hat to his heart


Alicia Zeh-Deau, age 34

Snow falling
Baby sleeping
A blanket of peace


my language is arabic
Asil Yassine, age 27

it is my sea. my bahr.
you want me to swim to you, i am seasick
here is where I breathe.
nafsi. nafs.
maybe I will float to you someday
become a fish of two seas.
but I will always be
of this bahr
my language
is my sea.


Ice Storm
Jaclyn Pillitteri, age 32

Snow and slush and
freezing rain cling to my boots,
sticking in the soles,
wrapping around the stiff laces.
Inside, my feet are wrapped in
fleecy softness, warm like
friends in front of the fireplace
sipping hot chocolate with
five perfect tiny marshmallows.


Summer Homecoming

Kamara Swaby, age 21

It is not the bursting fireworks,
neither the quickened processions,
nor the clash of marching bands
on the tracks of glory.
It’s the flickering street lamp lights,
and the eased solitary strides,
and the light hums of the songbirds
on the path to home.


Millie Selvitella, age 76

I wanted to do nothing but
when I got started
I wanted to do nothing else.


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