- Associated Press - Thursday, November 3, 2016

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) - The first poem has been written in cement along a Muscatine sidewalk, marking a new effort to promote the arts in the community.

The Muscatine County Arts Council held a poetry contest in April and five poets were selected as winners from a group of 40 applicants. Their poems were embossed into stamps that were to be placed into wet concrete as Public Works replaces or repairs sidewalks, according to the Muscatine Journal (http://bit.ly/2fgI15u ).

Council board member Dave Ales said he saw the poetry project in Minnesota and brought the idea back with him.

“It seemed like a good fit for the arts council to take on as a project,” Ales said. “We’ve offered things for the painters before and musicians, so this was something for the poets.”

The Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine funded the contest through a grant. The first sidewalk poem is titled “We are Living Stories” by Brenda Hughes.

City engineer Jim Edgmond said Muscatine plans to continue placing poetry on sidewalks, but will likely use a different method in the future for ease as well as to allow Public Works to place poems without needing to wait for cement to dry.

Ales said he hopes the poetry contest will become tradition.

“It’s something that can be built on every year, we hope to continue this and have another poetry contest next year,” he said.

He said residents can also view the winning poems at Musser Public Library, where they’re on display.

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Information from: Muscatine Journal, http://www.muscatinejournal.com

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