Last week, Mayor Melvin Carter announced the details of St. Paul’s Sidewalk Poetry Contest for 2023, a collaboration between the City, Public Art St. Paul (PASP), and St. Paul Almanac.
Writers who live in St. Paul can submit poems for the chance to have them stamped into city sidewalks this summer. The contest runs through April 3.
“For the past 15 years we’ve collaborated with St. Paul Public Art, St. Paul Almanac, and local artists to dress our sidewalks with poems from members of our community,” said Mayor Carter. “I look forward to carrying on this exciting and creative tradition.”
The 2023 Sidewalk Poetry Contest will accept submissions from new, emerging, or professional writers of any age. Winning writers will receive a $100 prize and have their poems stamped onto city sidewalks beginning this summer. Submissions in four non-English languages will be also accepted, including Dakota, Hmong, Somali, and Spanish, reflecting the diversity of Saint Paul.
“St. Paul Almanac is a literary arts organization that is proud to collaborate with Public Art St. Paul again on this fantastic sidewalk art project,” said Pamela Fletcher Bush, CEO and publisher of Saint Paul Almanac and Arcata Press. “We are glad to share our resources and networks to ensure a successful contest that reflects the stories of St. Paul residents.”
The 2023 contest is not only the 15th year of Sidewalk Poetry, it is also the inaugural summer of the Wakpa Triennial Art Festival organized by PASP.
The Wakpa Triennial Art Festival is a major new art event for the Twin Cities, scheduled for June 24 to September 16. More information can be found on the PASP website at www.publicartstpaul.org/wakpa.
“We’re excited that the Sidewalk Poetry Contest will participate in the Triennial by having poets write to the Triennial theme, ’Network of Mutuality,’” said Executive Director Colleen Sheehy, “a phrase that comes from Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail.’”
This year, Kevin Yang, a poet and poetry slam performer, and Marian Hassan, a writer and educator, will lead a panel of professional poets who will serve as jurors. The panel will select up to 15 winning poems, which will join the current 72-piece collection of Sidewalk Poetry in Saint Paul. Winners will be announced in early May.
To review instructions and submit a poem, visit the PASP website at www.publicartstpaul.org/sidewalk-poetry-submission-2023.
Information provided by the City of St. Paul.