2023 Sidewalk Poetry Contest

Celebrating 15 years of Sidewalk Poetry in the city of Saint Paul

Sidewalk Poetry is an ongoing, systems-based work of art and the vanguard expression of the pioneering idea of “City Art.” This project re-imagines Saint Paul’s annual sidewalk maintenance program as an ongoing publishing entity for a city-sized book of poetry. Sidewalk Poetry allows city residents to claim the sidewalks as their book pages by creating moments of contemplation and reflection through these printed poems.

In collaboration with the City of St. Paul, Public Art Saint Paul is hosting our 15th anniversary of Sidewalk Poetry in 2023. Submissions will be accepted March 6 – April 3, 2023.

Two highly accomplished poets—Kevin Yang and Marian Hassan—are curators of the 2023 Sidewalk Poetry Contest. They will serve as ambassadors, getting the word out far and wide about this opportunity for St. Paul residents only.

2023 Sidewalk Poetry Workshops

Join Public Art Saint Paul at any or all of the FREE Sidewalk Poetry Workshops below. All workshops are taught in English with an emphasis on the languages presented in this year’s contest. Register at the links below!

Sidewalk Poetry Workshop (Spanish Language Focus)- March 18th, 11 AM- 12:30 PM at the Riverview Library

Sidewalk Poetry Workshop (General)- March 25th, 11 AM- 12:30 PM at the George Latimer Library

Sidewalk Poetry Workshop (Dakota Language Focus)- March 28th, 6-7 pm at the Hayden Heights Library

Sidewalk Poetry Workshop (A Reflection on Hmong Culture & Language)- March 29, 6-7:30 PM ONLINE

Sidewalk Poetry Workshop (Somali Language Focus)- March 30th, 6-7:30 PM at the Rondo Library


  • Anyone who is a resident of the City of Saint Paul is eligible to submit poems.
  • You do not need to be a professional writer to submit a poem


  • Poems should be short, between 200- 300 characters, including spaces.
  • A writer can submit up to 2 poems.
  • We welcome poems written in Dakota, Hmong, Somali, and Spanish, reflecting the diversity of our city. On the submission form, please include an English translation of any poems submitted in the languages above. 
  •  Subject Matter: The 2023 Sidewalk Poetry contest is inspired by the theme of our Wakpa Triennial. For this contest, we ask writers to reflect on “Network of Mutuality” referencing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail . Writers should consider that these poems will appear in residential neighborhoods. People of all ages and backgrounds will stroll across and read these poems. These poems have the potential to create a moment of contemplation, spark insight, alter someone’s mood, bring smiles to their faces, evoke empathy, or perhaps change someone’s understanding of a experience or subject.


  • Each winning poet will receive a $100 award.
  • Winners will be announced in early June.
  • Jurors will select up to 15 poems to join the collection.
  • Poems will be stamped into sidewalks starting in summer 2023 and continuing into future years.
  • A public reading will be arranged with the 2023 winning poets.


Click this link to explore the City of Saint Paul’s GIS data and live map.

go to www.stpaul.gov/sidewalkpoetrymap


The 2023 Sidewalk Poetry Contest is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.  Sidewalk Poetry is also supported by by the McKnight, Hardenbergh, and Boss Foundations, the John and Ruth Huss Fund. Thank you as well to our generous donors who contributed to our ARTopia Fund-A-Need campaign for Sidewalk Poetry.