Seven poems picked for imprint in 2020 Sidewalk Poetry Competition

The Northfield Arts and Culture Commission (ACC), in partnership with the Friends and Foundation of the Library, is pleased to announce seven winners in the 2020 Sidewalk Poetry Competition: DEJA TU HUELLA / MAKE YOUR MARK. Chosen from among 57 poems submitted for judging, seven poems were selected for imprinting in city sidewalks.

Beginning in the spring and continuing through the summer, poems will be installed in city sidewalks, as weather permits. The winning poems will also be on display at the Northfield Public Library and City Hall (when permissible), posted on the Friends and Foundation of the Library and City of Northfield websites, and shared with local media.

The ACC applauds and thanks the many local poets who submitted their poetry to the competition. The winners of Northfield’s 2020 Sidewalk Poetry Competition are:

  • Anna Bergstrom
  • Danielle Dasheur
  • Heidi Magnuson (two poems)
  • Steve McCown (two poems)
  • Drew Weis

The ACC will open a second round of sidewalk poetry submissions exclusively for Spanish language poems during September to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month at the Northfield Public Library; those poems would be installed in the summer of 2021.    

Five contest judges were drawn from across the community, representing the colleges, the City, the community, and published poets. Judging was completely blind, in that judges were provided no identifying information regarding the poets. Judges were: Diane LeBlanc, director of Writing at St. Olaf College and a published poet; Melanny Castillo, library staff at the Northfield Public Library; Mar Valdecantos, translator for the Northfield Public School District, visual artist, and past winning poet; Mikayla Schmidt, city planner for the City of Northfield; and Rob Hardy, published poet and Northfield’s Poet Laureate.

A Sidewalk Poetry Capstone Celebration is scheduled to take place on Thursday, August 27, 2020, at 7 p.m. on Bridge Square in downtown Northfield if the COVID-19 pandemic situation allows. More details on the event will be announced later.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund. Additional support is provided by the Friends and Foundation of the Northfield Library.

Winning poems Carvers at the dump,

we part ways with pumpkins,
their faces-- hollow eyes,
chiseled teeth, sardonic grins--
sinking into leaves, haunting waste.
-Steven McCown

Old cobwebs that avoided the broom
hang around our porch corners,
yet in winter these grey tatters
whiten and billow, snaring
ice crystals like dream catchers.
-Steven McCown

The galaxy flips its pages
and I remember
A night sky is still a blue sky
-Anna Bergstrom

Heraclitus haiku 

enter, then leave,
then enter the river again:
new river, new you
-Drew Weis

Behind these words
lies a wriggly
idea
that stretched
and crawled and
ate soil
lots and lots of soil
until one day
it pushed to the surface
a poem.
-Heidi Magnuson

Memoir or mystery?
Fiction or history?
Classic tale?
Recent sale?
What will I find?
What will I pick
from the little
free library
stuck on a stick?
-Heidi Magnuson

Happiness, Joy, Smiles….
And a fresh dill pickle to
Balance everything out.
-Danielle Dasheur