Saint Paul Announces Sidewalk Poetry Contest

SAINT PAUL—Today, the City of Saint Paul announced the opening of the Fifth Annual Saint Paul Sidewalk Poetry Contest.

Running from March 14 to April 13, the contest will award five poets with a $150 cash prize and publication of their work on sidewalks across Saint Paul.

A panel of local poets and writers will choose five winning authors this year. Including this year’s winning submissions, the collection of sidewalk poetry will surpass 500 installations of 42 poems. All Saint Paul residents of any age are eligible to enter the contest. To submit a poem, or to learn more about the contest rules and guidelines, visit “Five years of sidewalk poetry is a proud milestone for our city,” Mayor Chris Coleman said. “Saint Paul has been home to several great writers, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, our own Poet Laureate Carol Connolly, and others. The sidewalk poetry program advances this rich literary tradition, while incorporating something fun and unexpected into our everyday lives.

Saint Paul’s innovative sidewalk poetry program recently earned a citation from the American Public Works Association as a “model practice.”

Selected poems become part of Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk, an innovative work of conceptual art that re-imagines the city’s sidewalk maintenance program as a process to publish a city-sized book.

“I love how the poems are part of people’s everyday lives,” said Marcus Young, City Artist in Residence and creator of the project. “Poems quietly appear on sidewalks and create softness within the hardscape built and maintained by the City. In this imaginative space, Saint Paul residents write their thoughts, dreams, and stories in poetic form for other residents to come upon and read.”

Winners will be announced on May 15 at Readings by Writers at the University Club on Summit Avenue, and on the project website on May 16.


Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk is a project by Marcus Young, City Artist in Residence. It is made possible with support from Public Art Saint Paul, the City of Saint Paul’s Public Art Ordinance Program, Readings by Writers, and the Saint Paul Public Library. This activity is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the state’s general fund and its arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.