Sidewalk Poetry Contest Announced

The Arts and Culture Commission of Northfield announces the 2012 Sidewalk Public Poetry competition to mark National Poetry Month in April. The competition is open from Thursday, March 1 to Saturday, March 31, 2012. Winners will be announced in April 2012.

This project is a partnership with the Friends and Foundation of the Northfield Public Library,and the Northfield Public Library, and the City of Northfield. 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.

All residents of Northfield and students of Northfield schools – young and old, professional writers and amateurs – are eligible. Each person is encouraged to submit up to two short poems that are appropriate for the public sphere. Complete guidelines for the blind judging process are available at, which also posts a link to the winning poems from 2011. In 2012, up to 10 poems will be stamped into Northfield sidewalk pavements and will be considered for other public purposes including publication and readings.

In 2011 the Sidewalk Public Poetry Project drew 121 poems from 81 individuals. Each one of the nine winning poems is remarkable on its own; collectively, they offer a sense of the spirit of our community. Plans to imprint into our sidewalks downtown later this spring are underway.

Philip Spensley, ACC Chair, notes, “In recent years, many individuals and organizations have voiced growing awareness of the arts as an economic engine in promoting tourism and new businesses as well as a way to enhance our quality of life. Programs like the Sidewalk Public Poetry Project and the Northfield Living Treasures program have been helped by more than 100 volunteers. The arts are alive and well in Northfield, and I believe they will be an even more recognized part of our city’s planned infrastructure in the years to come.”

For more information, contact Philip Spensley, chair of the Arts and Culture Commission of Northfield