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)
  • andrayg-pay
    4/06/2017 - 10:12 a.m.

    I find this to be a great way for education to be delivered and promoted. This is a work of art and this leaves me to ask questions as to what inspired them to do this type of art.

  • pilarj-cel
    4/12/2017 - 10:42 a.m.

    The artist with this project want the poems to appear when it's raining because it brings a sense of light to those that walk along the sidewalk and read it. Usually when it rains it puts people into a sad and depressing mood. But with the poems being on the sidewalk, the audience is attracted to it and take the time to read it and their emotion will change for the better.

  • parkerz-cel
    4/12/2017 - 10:42 a.m.

    artist only want their poems to appear when its raining because rain is such a dark and gloomy time in peoples life and if people could stop and take some time read a beautiful poem it could really make a world of difference in their day. also poetry is quickly fading in today's time and if people read it because they just happened to be walking in the rain it could bring a much greater appreciation to the subject.

  • irisp-ste
    4/17/2017 - 10:11 a.m.

    This is a neat feature I never saw before. I am a huge fan of local art and poetry so it is a great way to shed light on local artists. The PCCA should do something like this.

  • annakatep-cel
    4/17/2017 - 10:29 a.m.

    This is an awesome idea! its a great way to bring poetry to people in a different and unique way. because they only appear when it rains makes it more appealing to people with a more interesting reveal. say you were walking around and all of a sudden it started raining and words appeared out of no where. youre more interested and more excited to read it than if it was already there.

  • naturies-pay
    4/21/2017 - 11:00 a.m.

    Why do the artists only want their poems to appear when it is raining?
    i think that the artist want their art to appear when its raining mainly because the title of there type of poems are rain poems and the poems become more unique when they appear in the rain.

  • noahr-ste
    4/21/2017 - 01:30 p.m.

    This is really neat because it allows people to leave their mark on the city with breaking any fines of vandalism.

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