Sidewalk Poetry Contest Winners Announced


The Arts and Culture Commission (ACC) of Northfield, in partnership with the Friends of the Library, is pleased to announce the winners of the city’s first annual Sidewalk Poetry Contest.  Chosen from among 121 poems submitted for judging, nine poems have been selected for imprinting in city sidewalks.  The project has received unanimous support from Northfield’s City Council, Streetscape Task Force, and Heritage Preservation Commission.  Modeled after the successful sidewalk poetry project of St. Paul, MN, where Carleton graduate and artist Marcus Young has led their effort, Northfield’s winning poems will be installed gradually as sidewalk improvements are made.  Eventually, over the summer, it is planned that all of them will be in place.

The Arts and Culture Commission applauds and thanks the many local poets who submitted their poetry to the competition.  The tremendous response in the inaugural year of the contest exceeded expectations and finds the Commission already planning for next year’s competition.  This encourages the ACC to make this an annual spring event to celebrate not only National Poetry Month but the spirit of the town and the creativity of Northfielders of all ages. The Arts and Culture Commission is pleased to announce the following winners, in alphabetical order, of Northfield’s first annual Sidewalk Poetry Contest:

  • Brendon Etter
  • Olivia M. Fantini
  • Patrick Ganey
  • Lily Hanlon
  • Rob Hardy
  • Brenda Hellen (two winning poems)
  • Joan Reitz
  • Anne Running Sovik

The poems themselves can be read in the story in the Northfield News.

The five contest judges were chosen for their knowledge of and appreciation for poetry, drawn from across the community, representing the schools, the colleges, the city, professional writers, and published poets.  They were asked to select eight to ten poems, which in their eyes were worthy of being imprinted in Northfield sidewalks.   Judging was completely blind.  Poems were not identified by author’s names at the time of judging.  Judges were: Diane Leblanc, Director of Writing, St Olaf College and a published poet; Gail Jones Hansen, professional writer, co-founder of Riverwalk Market Fair; Scott King, poet, poetry editor, and publisher, Red Dragon Fly Press; Tim Madigan, City Administrator; and Bonnie Jean Flom, elementary school educator and member of the Arts and Culture Commission.

Planning is underway for a public poetry reading where the winning poems will be presented to the community.  Very soon the poems will be on display at the Northfield Public Library.  Expect future celebrations as the first poems are imprinted in city sidewalks.