Sidewalk Poetry Contest: How To Apply

2024 Update:

Cambridge's Sidewalk Poetry program is paused for 2024. We look forward to holding it again next year.

2023 Contest Guidelines

  1. Poets must be a current resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  2. Cambridge residents of ANY age are eligible.
  3. Poets may submit no more than ONE poem of their own work. Text and subject matter must be appropriate for the general public.
  4. Poems can be submitted in any language. If you submit a poem in another language, please also submit an English translation. If you do not feel comfortable translating your poem or are unable to have it translated, we're happy to help. Please contact us at so that we can translate it for you.
  5. Poems can be previously published or unpublished, as long as it is original work by the entrant. (There is a question on the form that asks if your poem is published, this helps when we check for plagiarism. Selection Committee members do not see this information.)
  6. Poems may be a maximum of 10 lines in length with a maximum of 40 characters per line including spaces and punctuation. Some minor edits may be necessary to enable the poem to fit on the sidewalk panel.
  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. We will check all poems for plagiarism.
  8. By submitting this poem, you give permission to the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and anyone acting for or through them to imprint your poem onto the sidewalk in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and to use and reprint the poem on the City of Cambridge website, in other marketing materials, and in projects related to the Sidewalk Poetry Program.
  9. Previous contest winners are ineligible to apply for five years after being selected.
  10. Each poem will be printed at least once in the City Sidewalks. The City is constantly assessing the condition of the poems and refreshes them when possible.
  11. City of Cambridge employees (including the Schools and Public Health Departments), and those elected or appointed to City councils, committees, boards, and commissions, are not eligible to participate in the contest.
  12. The due date to submit a poem is Friday, March 10, 2023, at noon. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Please contact us with any questions at 617-349-4388 or