2020 Sidewalk Poetry Competition Kick-off Event

Northfield’s Arts and Culture Commission will mark the start of the 2020 Sidewalk Poetry competition with a kick-off event hosted by Northfield’s Poet Laureate Rob Hardy on Saturday, January 18 at 2 p.m. in the atrium of the Northfield Public Library.

Winners of the 2019 competition will be featured reading their winning entries or favorite poems from their collections. Community members of all ages – poets and non-poets alike - are encouraged to attend and participate. The public isinvited to bring a favorite short poem to the kick-off to share with the audience. A Spanish interpreter is participating in the kick-off event.

This year’s sidewalk poetry competition is entitled “New Voices / Nuevas Voces.” Poetry submissions will again be accepted in Spanish and English. Participating poets do not need to provide translations of their submissions to the contest. This year’s judging panel will include both Spanish and English speakers.

The poetry contest is open to anyone residing in the Northfield school district and students of any age enrolled in Northfield public schools, Carleton College, and St. Olaf College. Each poet may submit up to two poems for consideration to the judging panel. New in 2020 will be the opportunity to submit poems via an online submission form. Complete contest guidelines, online submission form, and winning poems from previous years can be found on the Arts and Culture Commission page of the City of Northfield website. Poems may be submitted to the competition online or at the front desk of the Northfield Public Library from February 1 through 5 p.m. on February 29. Judging will take place during the month of March, with winners being announced at the start of National Poetry Month in April.

This marks the tenth year of Sidewalk Poetry in Northfield. Since its inception, 54 poets have been honored and 81 poems have been selected as contest winners. Poems appear in over 230 locations throughout downtown and in a number of Northfield neighborhoods, including the Safe Routes to Schools. This Arts and Culture Commission project is a partnership with the Northfield Public Library. This activity is funded by the Friends and Foundation of the Northfield Public Library and 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.