It’s raining poetry on Edmonds streets

By Brian Soergel | Nov 09, 2017
Courtesy of: City of Edmonds Carl Sandburg’s famous line from “Fog” can be seen along the sidewalk in front of the Frances Anderson Center, along the sidewalk at 700 Main St.

The summer sun may have waved ba-bye for another year, but the rainy season’s return can be something to enjoy as well.

Please don’t email, persistent precipitation pessimists – that’s according to the local EPIC Group Writers, who have sprinkled (ha-ha) seven temporary public art installations around town created through the Edmonds Arts Commission with assistance from Clayton Moss of Edmonds' Forma Design.

How’s it work? For the next few months, rain will reveal poetry fragments on selected sidewalks.

“Edmonds Rainwalk 2017” was produced by using a stencil cut with an excerpt from classic poems, which was then set on the sidewalk surface and sprayed with a special paint invisible until the sidewalk is wet.

If it’s sunny, just wait an hour or day or two. Don’t want to wait? Some investigative work revealed that spit took too long, but a water bottle should hasten the big reveal.

The excerpts by seven classic poets appear in the following locations:

  • Dayton Street Plaza, on the sidewalk along Dayton Street between Second and Third avenues south: Robert Frost, "Waters aflutter with the wind"
  • Frances Anderson Center, along the sidewalk at 700 Main St.: Carl Sandburg, "The fog comes on little cat feet."
  • Edmonds Library, along library entrance at 650 Main St.: William Wordsworth, "I wandered lonely as a cloud."
  • Edmonds Historical Museum, along the sidewalk plaza at 118 Fifth Ave. N: Rumi, "Lightning, then the rain-laughter."
  • City Hall, the sidewalk in front of 121 Fifth Ave: N: D.H. Lawrence, "A fine wind is blowing."
  • Third Avenue North and Main Street, along sidewalk on northwest corner: Emily Dickinson, "And only the waves reply."
  • Hazel Miller Plaza, along sidewalk on Fifth Ave South: Phillis Wheatley, "May peace with balmy winds your soul invest."

EPIC President Susan Ferguson said the project began about a year ago when EPIC board member Judith Works read articles about cities that used a local product called Rainworks to create temporary, rain-activated, painted poetry on the sidewalk.

“Judith brought the idea to the EPIC board, which was supportive, and then, eventually, EPIC partnered with the Edmonds Arts Commission to pursue the project,” Ferguson said.

“EPIC sponsors free local writing groups, one of which focuses on poetry writing. The group agreed to suggest poetry excerpts to be considered for the project, and classic excerpts from poetry in the public domain were selected.”

Considerations for locations included needing the sidewalks to be wide as well as relatively new and smooth, Ferguson said.“EPIC is very happy to have collaborated with the Arts Commission to bring this project to fruition.”

EPIC Group Writers’ mission is to create and sustain a community of writers of all levels who share, encourage and nurture literary and other creative arts for the benefit of the community at large. For information about EPIC, go to



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