Local Artists Hid Invisible Poems on Sidewalks Around Boston

The 'Raining Poetry' art installation was organized by Mass Poetry.
Raining Poetry

Photo by Mass Poetry

The next time you’re taking a stroll around Boston on a rainy day, make sure to look down at the sidewalk.

As part of a new art installation called “Raining Poetry,” invisible poems have been stenciled onto concrete walkways around the city using a biodegradable water-repellent spray.

The project, which was organized by the local nonprofit group Mass Poetry, features poems that appear whenever water or other liquids are poured on them.

Raining Poetry

Photo by Mass Poetry

According to the Boston Globe, the idea for the installation came from Boston’s arts and culture chief Julie Burros, as well as Mass Poetry cofounder Michael Ansara. The first invisible poem appeared on April 1 in honor of National Poetry Month, followed by four additional poems which were added on May 13.

The mayor’s mural crew helped install the project, while Boston.com reports that local artists, including Lesley University College of Art and Design students, cut out the stencils for each poem.

“I think this is a wonderful way to bring poetry to the people,” Boston Poet Laureate and Lesley University professor Danielle Legros Georges told Mass Poetry in an interview. Georges selected the new four poems, which includes works by three Massachusetts-based writers.

Raining Poetry

Photo by Mass Poetry

The poems featured are “Still Here” by Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes, “The Red Thread” by Elizabeth McKim, and untitled poems by Gary Duehr and Barbara Helfgott Hyatt.

If you want to check out the invisible sidewalk art, the Globe says that they can be found at the Dudley Square Cafe in Dudley Square, the Strand Theatre in Uphams Corner, by the library on Harvard Avenue in Hyde Park, and by the Washington Street and Cummins Highway intersection in Roslindale.

Check out a short clip below for a crash course on how the “Raining Poetry” invisible poems work.


Matt Juul Matt Juul, Digital A&E Writer at Boston Magazine mjuul@bostonmagazine.com