Sidewalk meter: Poetry in concrete

  • Updated: May 13, 2010 - 12:08 AM

As I walked along the street, suddenly beneath my feet, a string of words appeared.

A poem is embedded in the sidewalk in St. Paul’s Como Park neighborhood, at the corner of Grotto and Ivy Streets.

Photo: David Brewster, Star Tribune

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If you live in St. Paul, a new batch of poems will soon be coming to a sidewalk near you.

St. Paul Public Works officials Wednesday announced the winners of the 2010 Sidewalk Poetry Contest. The city annually replaces approximately 10 miles of sidewalk as part of its regular maintenance program. To date, 26 different poems have been stamped into 260 locations around the city.

THIS YEAR'S WINNERS: Dallas Crow, Rachel Kowarski, Pat Owen, Jeri Reilly and Kevin Walker. Honorable mentions went to Jefforee Davis, Sharon DeMark, Collin Dobie and William Reichard.

ONE WINNING POEM:

A dog on a walk

is like a person in love --

You can't tell them

it's the same old world.

--by Pat Owen

THE JUDGES WERE: Naomi Cohn, poet and 2008 winner; Carol Connolly, St. Paul poet laureate; Patrick McGuire, educator; John Minczewski, poet; Kristin Rafferty, artist; Katy Schulz, Rondo librarian, and Marcus Young, city artist in residence.

THE COMPETITION: More than 500 entrants submitted 819 poems.

THE TOPICS: There were poems about the weather, baseball, memories, love of St. Paul, squirrels and dogs, family, everything under the sun, it seems.

THE IDEA: The program was conceived by St. Paul's City Artist in Residence Marcus Young.

SPONSORSHIP: Rich Lallier, interim public works director, notes that the poetry program would not be possible without the generous support of its nonprofit partner, Public Art Saint Paul, which underwrites the program costs.

MORE INFORMATION: E-mail Marcus Young at marcus.young@ci.stpaul.mn.us or go to www.stpaul.gov/poetry.

JIM DURKIN

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