Everyday Poems for City Sidewalks: A Guide to Saint Paul’s Sidewalk Poetry

Everyday Poems for City Sidewalks: A Guide to Saint Paul’s Sidewalk Poetry

Saint Paul’s “Everyday Poems for City Sidewalks” is one of the city’s most beloved art installations. A “city-sized book of poetry”, the poems are known to unexpectedly pop up under your feet and onto your Instagram feed.

If you’ve ever wondered where and how this award-winning project developed (and continues to develop), this guide is for you. 


Behavioral artist Marcus Young 楊墨 is the originating artist of this work, from 2006-2015. The work is produced by Public Art Saint Paul (PASP) and the Saint Paul Department of Public Works, and invites Saint Paul writers of all ages to submit poems.


Sidewalk reconstruction with a poetic twist. As the city repaired single or double-panel sidewalks throughout all corners of Saint Paul, they also installed poetry written by Saint Paul residents.


More than 1,000 installations were made between 2008 and 2016.


All over the Capital City!  A full listing of Sidewalk Poetry locations is available on Public Art Saint Paul’s website.


In the words of then-Mayor Chris Coleman, “This program is a great way to inspire art and imagination throughout Saint Paul. To be surrounded by poetry instills a sense of curiosity, and continues Saint Paul’s rich tradition of promoting arts and literature.”


To gather the poems, the city has run occasional contests between 2008 and 2016. Saint Paul residents submit short, original poems for a chance to win $100 and have their work immortalized on the city’s sidewalks. The latest submission window ended in April of 2019, so keep an eye out (or down, we should say) for fresh new poems. 

It always makes us smile to have sidewalk poetry pop up in our feeds! Share your finds with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #MYSAINTPAUL