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

Five poems from the City of Cambridge’s fourth annual Sidewalk Poetry Contest have been chosen to be imprinted into the fresh concrete of new sidewalks around the city beginning in fall 2018. These winning poems speak about hibernating mice and voles, fugitives on a frigid night, scullers on the river, the music of birds, and memories stirred by passing an old lover’s address.

Julia Mix Barrington, 27
Mary  Buchinger, 55
Linda Larson, 70
Rohan Nijhawan, 27
Susan Sklan, 68

Erin M. Hasley, 44
Melinda Koyanis, 66
Sarah McGee, 22
Grace Valaskovic, 14
Alisa White, 23

The five winners—plus five runners-up—were chosen in April from 139 entries contributed this spring by Cambridge residents, ranging in age from 3 to 86, and hailing from all the neighborhoods of the community. Read these 10 poems here. All 10 poets have been invited to read at the Poetry Tent at the annual Cambridge Arts River Festival on June 2, 2018. 

Entries were reviewed by a selection committee composed of three past Cambridge Poets Populist, a student from Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, and representatives from Cambridge Public Works, Cambridge Public Library, and Cambridge Arts.

The Sidewalk Poetry Contest is a collaborative project of the Department of Public Works, Cambridge Arts, and the Cambridge Public Library.

Application for the 2019 Sidewalk Poetry Contest will be available in early 2019. See below for more information on how to apply.

How To Apply

The application period for the 2018 Sidewalk Poetry Contest has concluded. Applications were accepted in February and March and the winners announced in May.


  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 Poems can be previously published or unpublished, as long as it is original work by the entrant.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.)
  7. By submitting this poem you are attesting that this is an original work of poetry and that you are its rightful author or authorized representative.

The submission deadline for the 2018 contest has passed. Information about the 2019 contest will be released in early 2019.


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