The goal of the Cambridge Arts Poetry Programs is to create opportunities for the Cambridge community to engage with and promote poetry from diverse backgrounds and styles.
Poems about aging and youth, the love of a bookstore, about missing a lotus' bloom, morning, and driving etiquette are the winners of the City of Cambridge's sixth annual Sidewalk PoetryContest. The five winning poems will be imprinted into the fresh concrete of new sidewalks around the city.
Braian MacPherson and Caroleen Verly
Sarah Anne Stinnett
Learn more about the program and read the five winning poems and five runners-up at the 2020 Sidewalk Poetry webpage.
The Sidewalk Poetry Program is a partnership of the Department of Public Works, Cambridge Arts, and the Cambridge Public Library.
To celebrate five years of Sidewalk Poetry, Cambridge Arts worked with designer Rick Rawlins and his Community Design students at Lesley Art and Design to print entries from each year across a giant scrim that wraps a construction site around Lafayette Square and Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square. It was installed in April 2019 and is expected to be on view through fall 2019.
In 2015 the City of Cambridge launched the first annual Sidewalk Poetry Contest and has continued yearly since. Every March, residents of any age are invited to submit poetry for the chance to get their words stamped in concrete as part of the sidewalk repair program. The poetry submissions must be a maximum of 10 lines, 40 characters per line including spaces, and 250 characters overall including spaces and punctuation. Each year an average of 150 poems are submitted from people ages 3 to 95. Five winners are selected each year and stamped throughout City. Additionally, every year the winning poets are invited to read at the Poetry Tent at the annual Cambridge Arts River Festival. Visit our Sidewalk Poetry webpage to learn more about the program and how to apply.