Winning words about Maple Ridge

Sidewalk poetry contest marks 140th birthday celebrated last summer

Winners of sidewalk poetry have their word on concrete for a few weeks.

For Maple Ridge mom Wendy Biscuit:

The eggs are fresh and local,

The air is fair and clean

The smell of manure in the summer,

Can tell you

Expect horses on our roads.

Leanne Koehn sees Maple Ridge through the eyes of pioneers who settled in the area and hacked farms and livelihoods out of the rainforest wilderness:

Generations migrated

here to fish, to farm, to log,

to mill, to build,

to raise children to grow into a Maple Ridge heirloom variety.

But it was the young writers who captured the essence of Maple Ridge as it celebrated its 140 birthday last summer and moved from a rural-type district to the status of a city, such as 15-year-old Marlow Evans:

Maple Ridge –

Quiet streets,

A festival,

History

And potential.

For Grade 12 Garibaldi student Emily Tsui, Maple Ridge is about blue skies, plants and animals which will belong to her childhood memory:

Soft cotton clouds fill sapphire skies,

While animals and plants flourish

Memories of my childhood lay in every stone

I call this city my home.

Beckett Evans, in Grade 4 at Eric Langton elementary, says Maple Ridge is all about playing outside as a kid:

Neighbourhood Nerf warriors creep out at dusk

Foam street battle, laughter and friends

Maple Ridge – childhood still rings out in the night.

The words are the products of a sidewalk poetry contest held last year in celebration of Maple Ridge’s birthday, asking people express in verse what they think makes the city special?

Contestants were asked to write short Tweetable poems (no more than 140 characters), rhymes, limericks and haikus about their city.

Ten winners were chosen, three in the kids category and seven adults.Three judges chose the winners in a blind selection process. Submissions were evaluated without the names of the authors.

All 10 poems are now on temporary display using vinyl laminate on city sidewalks, until July.

The top two poems, by Tsui and Koehn, will be embedded permanently into concrete.

Yvonne Chui, recreation manager with parks and leisure services, said the inspiration for the contest came from St. Paul, Minn., which has had a sidewalk poetry contest for several years.

“They have a lot of streets that are imprinted.”

Maple Ridge’s public art steering committee funded the contest after coming up with the idea.

Chui said there’s lots of sculptures and art in Maple Ridge, but few opportunities to celebrate literature.

Winners were chosen last summer, but it was decided to wait until the spring to install the verses on to the sidewalks.

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