Poetry contest

Congratulations to the Winners of the 2020 Sidewalk Poetry Contest

The City of Cambridge today announced five winning poems which will be imprinted in the cool concrete of new pavements around the city from autumn 2020. The poems have been shortlisted through the sixth annual poetry competition on city ​​sidewalks. This year’s winning poems focus on love of a bookstore, aging and youth, the hidden meaning of a lotus flower, courtesy while driving, and memories while sipping coffee.

“I would like to congratulate this year’s winning poets,” said Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “This annual contest is an innovative way to share the creativity of our residents while engaging our community in enlivening our public spaces.

The five winning poems and poets are: Stay by Anne Dane; Double walker by Laura Deford; When the Lotus Bloomed by Peter Levine (based on Rabindranath Tagore); One-Lane Two-Way Street (AKA Ode to Howard Street) by Brian MacPherson and Caroleen Verly; and Sarah Anne Stinnett’s This Morning Reprieve.

The five finalists are: haiku for a new season of Charles Coe; Thirst by Lisa DeSiro; Curvature by Elizabeth Flood; Bushbirds by Marjorie Jacobs; and Madeline LaFarge’s Water’s Edge.

Launched in 2015, the Sidewalk Poetry Contest is a collaborative project of the City’s Department of Public Works, Cambridge Arts and Cambridge Public Library. It combines a program of basic infrastructure repair with the residents’ integrated poetic creations, building a collective creation and a sustainable program generated by a collaboration between the residents and the government. Every winter, residents of all ages are invited to submit poetry for the chance to have their words etched in concrete as part of the sidewalk renewal program.

Applications were reviewed by a selection committee made up of a former Cambridge populist poet and representatives from the three city departments that worked on the scheme. Five winners and five runners-up were chosen from 91 entries submitted this year by Cambridge residents.

For more information or to view an online map with locations of past winning poems, visit CambridgeMA.gov/SidewalkPoetry.