People walking around Appleton are now encouraged to stop and read the poetry. A public works crew stamped the first poem in the city's new sidewalk poetry program Wednesday morning. It's at City Park.
The idea came from a St. Paul, Minnesota, artist. It's intended to transform city sidewalks into an open poetry book.
"The idea is, it's something that is thought provoking," Director of Public Works Paula Vandehey said. "So you read it, and as you're walking it might spark a conversation like, 'What does that mean to you?' So ideas just spur conversations as you're walking by the poems."
The six writers chosen for the project read their poems at a ceremony Wednesday. The other five poems will be installed around the city later this year.
"I just think this sidewalk poetry project is really neat. I think it's a great way to express all the talent we have here in Appleton," one of the poets, Patricia Kasten, said.
The poems are submitted to the director of public works by Appleton residents and students of the Appleton Area School District.
"We've had elementary school kids who submitted poems where teachers did it as a school project, to elderly people saying, 'This is great, I want to maybe write a poem and leave a legacy,' so just a lot of really positive excitement," Vandehey said.
The city plans to install up to 5 poems on sidewalks on city-owned property every year.
Poems can be previously published but must be original and the subject matter must be appropriate for the general public. They must be in English, and fit within 10 lines (including the title), up to 40 characters per line (including spaces), with a maximum of 250 characters. Entrants are limited to 1 submission per year.
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