Boston’s Sidewalks Now Reveal Poems in the Rain

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Hayim Oshky discusses an amazing new project in Boston, which has turned the city’s sidewalks into works of art that reveal poems when it rains!

Celebrating poetry

April was National Poetry Month. Billed as “the largest literary celebration in the world,” this is the time when poetry enthusiasts from across America come together to herald poetry’s unique contribution to modern culture. The event is officially run by the American Society of Poets, who hosted a range of celebrations to mark National Poetry Month 2016.

Boston found a unique way to celebrate this year. Treehugger writes that the City of Boston partnered with public art project Mass Poetry to transform the area’s sidewalks into canvasses which reveal poems when it rains. They stencilled poetic verses onto various sidewalks with invisible ‘superhydrophobic’ sprays. The spray becomes visible when the surrounding pavement stones are darkened by rain, revealing secret poems just waiting for the citizens of Boston to read!

Secret poems

This spray is the brainchild of Mr Peregrine Church, who hails from Seattle. He decided to create what is now called the ‘Rainworks’ spray after watching a viral video which showed how superhydrophobic coatings work. For instance, when applied to clothing they make it water repellent. Church’s bright idea was to use the same substance to spray messages on the sidewalks of Seattle.

This project was a big hit, allowing Church to roll out a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of his new Rainworks spray. According to the Seattle native, the spray is biodegradable, environmentally friendly and completely non-toxic. A Rainworks-sprayed message will last, on average, around two to four months, ensuring that plenty of Bostonians will get to read a poem when it rains!

Boston Poet Laureate Danielle Georges chose four poets’ work to display on the sidewalks of Massachusetts’ most prominent city. These were Langston Hughes, Elizabeth McKim, Barbara Helfgott Hyett, and Gary Duehr, poets who all have significant ties to Boston. Commenting, Georges said: “With Raining Poetry, we are able to bring more poetry into the everyday lives of the unsuspecting.”

Inspiring poetry appreciation

By using the Rainworks spray, Boston has made it possible for citizens to discover new poetic works as they walk through the city streets, inspiring a whole new generation of poetry lovers. What a perfect way to mark an occasion which is dedicated to inspiring poetry appreciation across the nation!

Thank you for reading… Hayim Oshky.

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