Poetry stamped on Selkirk Avenue

Over time, collection to ‘read like a book’ says Maple Ridge mayor

Leanne Koehn won the adult category in the city’s Tweetable sidewalk poetry contest last year.

Leanne Koehn won the adult category in the city’s Tweetable sidewalk poetry contest last year.

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They had their unofficial rollout last year when the City of Maple Ridge was celebrating its 140th birthday.

Now, two of 10 poems that were glued on to city sidewalks as part of a Tweetable sidewalk poetry contest that began in 2014 will be permanently stamped into the new sidewalk that’s being built on Selkirk Avenue, between 225th and 226th streets.

Leanne Koehn won the adult category and Emily Tsui won the children’s category in the contest that invited people to write poems about the city in Tweet-sized amounts.

“The stamped poems will enhance the pedestrian-walking experience and, over time, the collection of poems can be read like a book on the sidewalks throughout the city,” Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read said.

Over the next 10 years, many sidewalks will be repaired or added to make Maple Ridge a safer and more walkable city.

Maple Ridge will be the first city in Canada to permanently embed its literary heritage into concrete.

The city is doing so in the wake of the success of the same strategy already done in Cambridge, Mass. and St. Paul, Minn.

The Cambridge Arts Council in Massachusetts also helped out with technical advice on creating the stamps.

The verse will be embedded into the concrete this year when the sidewalk is poured.

“Sidewalk poetry not only a way to way to preserve a legacy from the 140th anniversary but also a way to make public spaces more interesting and to celebrate the literary arts,” said Susan Hayes, chair of Maple Ridge’s public art steering committee.

“There is a poet in everyone of us. It was gratifying to see so many submissions from people of all ages last year.”