Edit ModuleShow Tags

Everyday Poems for Everyone in St. Paul

Public Art Saint Paul spreads poetry throughout the sidewalks of the city


Published:


"Wet Cement" by Zoe Jameson, photo courtesy of jeannelutz.com

Acclaimed American poet Allen Ginsberg once wrote, “Poetry is the one place where people can speak their original human mind. It is the outlet for people to say in public what is known in private.” The project “Everyday Poems for City Sidewalks,” originally created by Marcus Young, who was a city artist with Public Art Saint Paul, follows this notion by inviting everyone in the city to revel in the beauty of poetry—artistically engraved right on the sidewalk.

This project transforms St. Paul into a citywide book of poetry while also working to repair 10 miles of sidewalks each year. 950 poems have been etched throughout St. Paul, all written by the city’s residents. The collection grows year after year thanks to all of the creative contributors who take the time to submit their poems to the annual poetry contest. Unfortunately, no contest was held this year, but eight new poems from 2015 were added to the collection, and 200 poems were stamped last summer. The next contest is projected to take place in the spring of 2017.

No two poems are alike—the poems do not have to follow a specific theme or form. They range from silly, cute rhymes to deep, introspective metaphors. Some are short and sweet:

 
“A dog on a walk…” by Pat Owen, Photo courtesy of stpaulrealestateblog.com

Others are longer and more thought provoking:


“Tipping the Scales” by Georgia A. Greenly, photo courtesy of pinterest.com    

I like to consider the poems as a gift to the distracted. They call for attention. I’ve seen more than one walker whisk by a poem only to stop abruptly and reverse their steps so they can read the words that are underneath their feet.


“The sky fell on my toes…” By Diego Vazquez Jr., photo courtesy of msthames.blogspot.com

The project has been around since 2008, but continues to surprise, enlighten, and move people throughout their commutes or leisurely strolls—a subtle way to interrupt the mundane and remind us of the ways we are all connected as a community, and as humans.  

My own encounters with “Everyday Poems” have been mostly limited to Grand, Selby, Cleveland, and Summit Avenues, but the poems are dispersed through other areas of the city as well.

It’s beautiful to see people encounter poetry in such a practical, unassuming fashion, a permanent imprint on the city that continues to give in personal and meaningful ways.   

Learn more about the project, annual contest, and contributors at publicartstpaul.org.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

InterContinental Hotel Opens at MSP Airport

New lodging, restaurants, spa, gym, and skyway update the MSP Airport experience

Plan a Trip to Roanoke, Virginia

This East Coast visit comes with history, a burgeoning craft beer scene, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Appalachian Trail, and more

Cannon Falls Wine & Art Fest

Taste Minnesota wines and ciders, browse through local art vendors, and eat delicious food at Cannon Falls Wine & Art Fest, July 21-22

Day Trip to Taylors Falls

A Taylors Falls day trip made up of beautiful river views and a classic malt shop.

Record Store on Wheels

Like a food truck, but for music—and debuting this Sunday at Open Streets Minneapolis

Green Thumb Gardens

The 2018 Hennepin County Master Gardener Learning Garden Tour flaunts its foliage July 14

Best Caves of Minnesota

Explore Minnesota’s man-made and natural curiosities this summer

Amble Over to Afton

While you’re in Afton for Selma’s, stay a while and check out the state parks, historic buildings, quaint downtown, and more

Take a Trip for (Frozen) Treats

Grab a scoop from the state’s oldest ice cream shop in Afton: Selma’s Ice Cream Parlour

Journeys: A Minnesotan’s Happy Place

Time wasted at the lake is time well spent

Journeys: The Start of Adventure

To prep for wilderness canoe trips, Les Voyageurs brings campers out on the Mississippi River

Top 5 Instagram Spots Along the Mississippi River

Bluffs, hiking trails, and waterfalls make for beautiful summer photos

Summer Sunburn Solutions

Six ways to beat the burn

Brews and Views at the Hopped Up Caribou Festival

There's no better place to tie the knot than at a craft beer festival, and if you're not into that, you can cliff climb, too
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags