When it rains in Boston, the sidewalks reveal poetry Artists install a poem on a Boston sidewalk. (Mass Poetry)
When it rains in Boston, the sidewalks reveal poetry
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If you're walking through Boston during a downpour, make sure to keep your eyes on the pavement: you might just see a poem appear before your eyes. For nearly a year, Bostonians wandering the city streets in the rain may have come across poems written on the sidewalk.
 
Titled "Raining Poetry," this art installation was a collaboration between the nonprofit Mass Poetry and the city of Boston. The first poems were installed to commemorate the start National Poetry Month, with several more added to the city's streets last May 13. Created using stencils and a water-repellant spray, the poems are invisible during dry, sunny weather, but appear like magic once raindrops start falling from the sky, Aria Bendix writes for CityLab.
 
"We want to bring poetry to the people," Sara Siegel, program director for the nonprofit Mass Poetry, tells Bendix.
 
The poems were selected by Danielle Legros Georges, Boston's poet laureate, and include written works by artists like Langston Hughes, Gary Duehr, Barbara Helfgott Hyett, and Elizabeth McKim. Scattered throughout the city, Georges selected the poems based on their relationship to Boston, as well as the general themes of water and rain, Cristela Guerra reports for the Boston Globe.
 
"I wanted to draw work from poets influential in the Boston-area literary, educational or cultural realms," Georges said in a statement.
 
The poems were installed by members of the Mayor's Mural Crew, an organization that introduces young artists to the process of creating public art. Using a biodegradable spray and simple cardboard stencils, the poems can be fixed to the sidewalk in a matter of minutes and should wear away in six to eight weeks. However, the city of Boston and Mass Poetry plan on carpeting city sidewalks with more poems.
 
"It's a public art project-as the poems are and will be installed in public sites in Boston, and meant for everyone," Georges said. "I think this is a wonderful way to bring poetry to the people."
 
The poems appear throughout the city, in neighborhoods from Hyde Park to Roslindale. While all of the poems currently installed are written in English, Siegel hopes to add new ones in the many languages that are spoken throughout Boston, like Portuguese, Haitian Creole and Spanish, Guerra reports.
 
"Our hope is in the next two years everyone in the state will encounter a poem in their daily lives at least once or twice a month," Siegel tells Guerra. "This a fun and unusual way to do that."
 
So if you're out and about in Beantown the next time it rains, keep an eye to the ground: you might just spot a poem glistening under the raindrops.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why do the artists only want their poems to appear when it is raining?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (18)
  • monicas-ste
    3/31/2017 - 12:57 p.m.

    This is so cool. This should happen in more places. This was pretty awesome to read about.

  • zakrym-ste
    3/31/2017 - 01:13 p.m.

    This is a cool idea to leave your mark on a city. It is a cool way to have something permanent. It allows people to be creative without spray painting.

  • daltons1-ste
    3/31/2017 - 01:17 p.m.

    It's nice to have the city of Boston throw poetry in peoples life by putting it on the sidewalk with water repellent spray and stencils. Poetry is great and this whole art installation is amazing.

  • danickab-jac
    3/31/2017 - 06:15 p.m.

    I was on a social media looking through and this exact thing came up where they put pictures of dragons, bees, and other animals and then they poured water on it. I'va also seen a similar thing for a car and when the car got wet, it turned from red to light orange with captain america on it. It was pretty cool ;P.

  • charleyh1-pla
    4/03/2017 - 02:06 p.m.

    Creating poetry on sidewalks during a time when people usually feel sad and tired creates a sunshine within the reader. The creativity and technological innovations behind the hidden poems amaze me, and I applaud those who created this.
    I personally connect with this story because I enjoy reading and writing poetry. The idea that words can bring light and hope to someone's dreary, rainy day is amazing by itself. When it leaves a permanent mark on the city without creating a dingy look, the movement automatically gets an A+. I, also, loved the inclusion of a local, non-profit organization.

  • abbya-smi
    4/03/2017 - 07:32 p.m.

    I believe that the artists only want their poems to appear when it is raining because the art of poetry can brighten someone's day. When it is rainy outside many people can start to feel blue and the poems that appear could make them feel better. Another reason that the artists only wants their poems to appear when it is raining so that the people of Boston do not start taking them for granted. Poems can portray deep meaning that can really connect with people because of their own personal experiences, and sometimes when people see something day after day they forget how special and rare it is.

  • jahir-orv
    4/03/2017 - 11:50 p.m.

    It gives the poems more depth. and makes it less superficial. it makes whoever comes across it think for a little while.

  • Loganr12348
    4/04/2017 - 03:00 p.m.

    it is a wonderful way to bring poetry to the people

  • vaneises-
    4/05/2017 - 08:39 a.m.

    Artists only want their poems to appear when it rains because they think its a great to bring poetry out to the public and the poems based around water/rain.

  • tamiam-pay
    4/05/2017 - 11:39 a.m.

    This is so cool and très creative, too! This should happen in South Florida.

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