Sidewalk Poetry Contest Winners Announced!


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Cambridge, MA -- The City of Cambridge is pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural Sidewalk Poetry Contest. Poems written by Cambridge residents Rose Breslin Blake, Benjamin Grimm, Ty Muto, Carolyn Russell Stonewell, and Elissa Warner will be stamped into freshly poured concrete throughout the City during the course of routine sidewalk repairs this year.

The Sidewalk Poetry Contest, held March 12 - April 12, 2015, attracted over 300 submissions from Cambridge residents. A committee comprised of representatives from the Department of Public Works, Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge Arts, in addition to past Poet Populists and a Cambridge resident selected the winning poems. The winning poets and six runners up have been invited to read at the Poetry Tent at the 36th Cambridge Arts River Festival, June 6, 2015. Runners up include Norman Belanger, Jim Borron, Olga Livshin, J. Philip Miller, Wendy Rosen, and Christian Soderberg.

The SidewalkPoetry Planning and Selection Committee was happy to receive such a strong response to the call for poems and to see a very wide range of ages represented: from 4 to 95 years. We are thrilled to be in partnership with Public Works and the Public Library to bring moments of art durably imprinted into the City's infrastructure for Cambridge citizens and visitors to encounter in daily life, said Lillian Hsu, Director of Public Art Exhibitions at Cambridge Arts.


Rose Breslin Blake

Children, look up

Cherish those clouds

Ride grey ponies over their hills

Feed the shiny fish

Boo the big bear

Chase the gloomy giant

Giggle with the geese

Sing with the lambs

Cherish those clouds; they cherish you

Rest on their pillows.


Benjamin Grimm

I could not forget you if I tried.

I have tried.


Ty Muto

Your blue-green glances

My heart skips double dutch beats

Caught in your rhythm


Carolyn Russell Stonewell

Sun takes a bite of mango as it sets.

Its last rays run down my cheek.


Elissa Warner

A Mother's Wish

Little boys, little treasures

Shine like lights from above

My son, my only one

My wish for you is that you wake

One day when you are old

And feel raindrops on your cheek

Tears of joy from my heart

For you to keep


The Sidewalk Poetry Program is a collaboration of the Department of Public Works, Cambridge Arts Council, and the Cambridge Public Library.  Poetry Program Selection Committee: Kelly Dunn, Department of Public Works; Andrea Geyer, Cambridge Resident; Lillian Hsu, Cambridge Arts; Jean Deny Joachim, Poet Populist; Skye Lavin, Cambridge Public Library; Chris Neil, Department of Public Works; Peter Payack, Poet Populist; Dan Wuenschel, Cambridge Public Library / Poet. The Cambridge Sidewalk Poetry Program was inspired by a similar ongoing program in St. Paul, Minnesota, begun in 2008 by artist Marcus Young as artist-in-residence in the St. Paul Department of Public Works.  St. Paul has over 450 poems in St. Paul sidewalks to date. The Cambridge program will integrate poetry into its routine sidewalk repairs. The fresh concrete necessary when the City pours new sidewalk panels will provide an opportunity to stamp poems in selected locations throughout the City.