Look Under Your Feet for Poetry by the Street
When you’re walking around Takoma Park, look down at your feet to see poems by local residents imprinted in new sidewalks across the city.
Seven poems have been stamped so far in an interactive public art project organized by the City of Takoma Park’s Arts and Humanities Division. A contest was held earlier this year where city residents of all ages could enter their original poems. A committee of local poets chose 10 adults and 10 children as the winners who each received a $100 prize. The poems are being stamped now during new sidewalk construction or sidewalk repairs.
“It’s exciting to see poetry by local residents in unusual locations,” Arts and Humanities Coordinator Brendan Smith said. “Takoma Park is a very walkable city so we wanted to bring some poetry to people where they live.”
The project was inspired by a sidewalk poetry program started by artist Marcus Young with Public Art Saint Paul in St. Paul, Minn. Sidewalk poetry has spread to other cities across the country.
Nala Miller’s poem about her little green ball is stamped at the entrance to Opal Daniels Park at 7414 Carroll Avenue. Nala just turned 8 years old and was very excited to see her poem in the sidewalk. She will be a third grader at Piney Branch Elementary School this fall.
Richard Weil’s sidewalk poem is located at 8106 Flower Avenue. “My wife and I moved here 40 years ago because we discovered a beautiful wooded place where there is a diversity of creative people who look out for each other,” he said.
Aissatou Thiam is 7 years old, and her short, funny poem about ants in her pants is located on Flower Avenue across the street from the Sligo Seventh Day Adventist Church near the Carroll Avenue intersection.
More poems will be stamped across the city during new sidewalk construction or repairs. You can read all 20 winning poems here.