Concrete Poems

St. Paul, Minnesota's artist-in-residence has instituted a program where poems are imprinted into sidewalks throughout the city.

"Mr. Young, who was born in Hong Kong and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, has spent the past year stamping oversized poems into cement across the city – a public arts project he calls, with something less than poetic flourish, 'Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk.'"

"The poems are scattered as far as Lake Como to the north and the Mississippi River to the west. But a single Frogtown street plays host to four, and we arrived around dusk, when the shadows were fattening."

"'It's a universal thing,' Young said, peering down at a pile of russet autumn leaves. 'You see wet concrete, and you want to do something to it. You want to write your initials. All we've done is sanction that desire.'"

"For two years, Young has served as the public artist in residence for St. Paul, a Midwestern city with a serious creative bent. Literature and art flourish here, supported by a network of independent bookstores, coffee shops, and galleries."

"One of Young's first goals, when he moved into his office in a dilapidated government building, was to bring that vibrancy to street level."

Full Story: Sidewalk stanzas

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