2012 Sidewalk Poetry Celebration and Quiz


The Arts and Culture Commission of Northfield announces the 2012 Sidewalk Poetry Celebration to begin at 7:00 p.m. on August 29, 2012. The event will bring poetry lovers and sidewalk poets together to tour the sites in Northfield’s downtown where poems are now installed and to hear the poems read aloud.

In 2011, Northfield launched the annual Sidewalk Public Poetry Project. Since then, in two competitions, 19 poems have been selected to become a permanent part of the Northfield landscape. Each one of the winning poems is remarkable on its own; collectively, they offer a sense of the spirit of our community. During the course of this summer, residents and visitors have begun seeing the poems installed, and it is now time to celebrate this concrete achievement in local public art.

These competitions have yielded nineteen winning poems, and this summer, these poems by local poets (who range in age from a fourth-grader through seniors) are being imprinted into the concrete of our city sidewalks. To celebrate, the ACC is hosting a “traveling reading” of the poems at the site where each one is now (or will soon be) a permanent part of our streetscape. This celebration will begin with a gathering of poets and poetry lovers on Bridge Square (where one of the poems is now installed) and will progress, parade-fashion, with balloons and posters, around the downtown area. We will end in Bridge Square.

The Quiz

To allow participation by as many as possible – and to draw even more attention to these new works of Northfield literary art – we are holding a mini-competition in the form of a quiz. The quiz, designed to encourage art awareness, contains nineteen fill-in-the-blank questions, one for each poem, in which the respondent is asked to fill in the missing word or words. The quiz competition is open from Thursday, August 9 to Saturday, August  25, 2012.  All Northfield residents and students in Northfield schools are eligible! A public drawing, from the pool of correctly completed quizzes, will be part of the Sidewalk Poetry Celebration on August 29, 2012.

It is part of the mission of the Arts and Culture Commission to highlight and foster the ways in which the arts serve as an engine of economic vitality. Our two flagship local banks, First National Bank and Community Resource Bank, have each generously contributed the funds to purchase copies of a magnificent volume: The Norton Anthology of Poetry.  (The fifth edition of this prized anthology offers a wide range of poetry, more than 1,000 years of English language verse, arranged chronologically by poet, comprising over 2,240 pages.)

The quiz and full text of all poems (along with authors’ names) can be found at www.northfieldlibraryfriends.org/SidewalkPoetry/PoetryQuiz2012.htm. The poems with authors’ names are also posted on the first floor of the Northfield Public Library, and paper copies of the quiz are available in the Library lobby. To be considered for the drawing, quizzes must be complete, include contact information, and be received by the Library (in person or by mail) by the end of Saturday, August 25, 2012.

This Arts and Culture Commission event is in partnership with the Friends and Foundation of the Northfield Public Library, the Northfield Public Library, and the City of Northfield, and has been supported by the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and the generosity of Community Resource Bank and First National Bank. This activity is funded by the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council through the arts and culture heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.

For more information, contact Philip Spensley, chair of the Arts and Culture Commission of Northfieldpspensley@earthlink.net or Leslie Schultz, secretary of the ACC at winonapoet@gmail.com.