Newsflash! Sidewalk Poems Come Home to Roost!

What a surprise we had this week! We walked out to see that the section of sidewalk in front of our house that’s been increasingly compromised by the walnut tree near the street had been cut out and removed. All that was left was a bit of concrete dust.

An Opportunity...

An Opportunity…

Because I have often visualized poems in the sidewalk in front of our house (as they have been appearing over the past five years in so many locations in Northfield), I called the City offices to ask if we might request poems in the new sidewalk in front of 114 Winona Street.The answer: Yes!!

With so many Sidewalk Poems available (here is a link to the City of Northfield’s official page for all things about Sidewalk Poems) it was difficult to choose. In the end, I asked for a poem I had written for the competition in 2015 and one that Julia wrote for the competition this year.  Two days later, here is what the poems look like:

Flowers Rusty Pump

Flowers Jazz

Writing a poem is often a solitary endeavor, but stamping them into the concrete requires many hands. We had a front row seat on August 2. What follows is a photo journalism tour of the process…

Trucks and Work Boots

Trucks and Work Boots

Hansen Concrete and Remodeling

Hansen Concrete and Remodeling

Tracy and Dillon Hansen

Tracy and Dillon Hansen

Jasper Kruggel and T. J. Heinricy of Northfield's Streets and Parks Department Deliver the Stamps

Jasper Kruggel and T. J. Heinricy of Northfield’s Streets and Parks Department Deliver the Stamps

Mike Sikel of Cemstone

Mike Sikel of Cemstone

Sidewalk Bobcat and Coneflower

Sidewalk Dillon Working

Sidewalk Jazz Stamp

Sidewalk Rusty Iron Pump Stamp

Sidewalk Rusty Installation

Sidewalk Rusty Iron Pump Wet

Careful Craftsmanship by Hansen Concrete

Careful Craftsmanship by Hansen Concrete

Sidewalk Final Touches

Margit and Aksel Stop By

Margit and Aksel Stop By

Margit and Aksel Get Closer

Margit and Aksel Get Closer

Aksel Tying a Strong Knot (Photo: Margit Johnson)

Aksel Helps Me Protect the Poems by Tying a Very Strong Knot
(Photo: Margit Johnson)

Sidewalk Finished

Sidewalk Jazz Wet

Sidewalk Cleaning the Stamps

This was an exhilarating day for me, and I am more conscious than ever of what it takes to do public art well–and how very worthwhile it is. Public art connects people in new ways, creating new community ties. It is just plain fun, too. Thank you to all who helped with this poem installation, and thanks also to the multitude of people (artist Marcus Young of St. Paul, the City Council of Northfield, the Friends of the Northfield Public Library, poets and people of Northfield, the staff and volunteers of the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council, and the people of Minnesota who have supported the Legacy Amendment)–all of whom have a share in the dynamism of the Sidewalk Poetry in our hometown. You all do so much to make this city and state a wonderful place to make and encounter art. I cannot imagine living anywhere else!

Legacy Logo ColorFinal

Hope you find a little poetry in your day, everyday!   Leslie

P.S. I took a fifteen-second video with my iPhone and hoped to include it in this post, but the technicalities were a snag. If anyone has any tips on getting this kind of video (in Quicktime, I believe) into a WordPress post, I would welcome them!

Flowers Initials

Newsflash! I Have a Poem (“Consolation”) in the New Issue of LIGHT Magazine!

Light cover_summer_2016 (2)

I have long admired this peerless anthology of fun and humorous poems, and am just thrilled that a poem I wrote last fall — to exorcise feelings of sadness over our cancelled Amtrack trip to the east (to visit colleges, to see friends, to revisit Kripalu, and at last to see Emily Dickinson’s house, Edith Wharton’s house, and Amy Clampitt’s house) — is included in this issue of LIGHT.

I always love this online journal, and in this issue (coming just in time to leaven the election season) I am especially wowed by three of the poems of the featured poet, Marilyn Taylor: “Always Questions” (riffs on Emily Dickinson), “First Day in London”, and “Sonnet in Defense of the Much-maligned Spondee”.  Taylor is a Wisconsin poet who has served as Poet Laureate for the City of Milwaukee and for the State of Wisconsin, and she currently teaches in various places, including through Lawrence University in Appleton Light also includes a light-hearted but astute appreciation of Taylor’s work by Barbara Crooker, as well as dozens of clever and sprightly poems by others. Marvelous and inventive language! Do give this issue a look.

And if you enjoy my own poem, “Consolation”, please take a look at the masterful original that inspired it. Here is a link to the text of  Billy Collins’s poem.  And here is a lovely reading of the poem by Melody Hopkins, complete with a slide show to illustrate the poem.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning ("Ba") Daffodil--gift from Sally--near our front sidewalk

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (“Ba”) Daffodil–gift from Sally–near our front sidewalk

ENJOY!  Leslie