Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Poetry and Concrete

One of the local news stations covered this a few days ago. I think it is just about the coolest thing I have heard about in a long time. I wish I had thought of it when I was redoing my front steps. It goes directly to my English major heart.

St. Paul has an artist in residence named Marcus Young and his office is in a same building as the Department of Public Works. Serendipity. As creative minds will do, he started thinking about sidewalks in a new way. What would happen if you stamped poetry into a sidewalk?

So, the city held a contest. 2000 people entered their poems. 34 were selected. The city is now busy stamping those poems into newly poured sidewalks for the public to read as they go along their merry way. I love, love, love this idea.

Walt Whitman's "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer," Ezra Pound's "In The Station of the Metro" or maybe some e.e. cummings is SO going down on my backyard sidewalk when I replace it. Hmm....or maybe they would loan me one of their stamps. Some of the winning poems are excellent.

2 comments:

Mike said...

Hey Stucco,

If you really want to do it up right you can emulate the Literary Walk in Iowa City. Bronze plaques inlaid into the sidewalk with a ribbon of text stamped into the concrete connecting them together. Since the UI is home to the Iowa Writer's Workshop, there are lots of famous alumna represented:

http://www.icgov.org/default/?id=1585

StuccoHouse said...

Mike - Very neat. I'd love to see that. Those plaques are impressive looking. I love it when cities do little things like that.

The one thing I did like about the St. Paul effort is that while many of the poets are pros, there are a few grade school kids that got their poems in there. And, frankly, those kids wrote peoms that are much better than most adults (at least me) could write.

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