Sidewalk Poetry Project

Media Arts Studio, Producer

Sidewalk Poetry combines a basic infrastructure repair program with the imbedded poetic creations of residents, building a collective creation and sustainable program generated by a collaboration of citizens with government. The program launched in 2015 with 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 3-95. Entries are then reviewed anonymously by a selection committee composed of past Cambridge Poets Populists, students from Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, and representatives from Cambridge Public Works, Cambridge Public Library, and Cambridge Arts. Five winners are selected each year and stamped throughout the City.

To date, 21 poems have been stamped in Cambridge sidewalks. Sidewalk Poetry provides opportunities for meaningful cultural exchange, adds a sense of playfulness to the City, and makes poetry more visible by bringing it into public spaces. Sidewalk Poetry is a collaborative project of the Department of Public Works, Cambridge Arts, and the Cambridge Public Library.