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2017 sidewalk poetry poems announced

Post Date:03/21/2017 11:20 AM

A class of five new poems will be stamped in Appleton sidewalks as part of our annual sidewalk poetry program.Sidewalk Poetry

A favorite saying of two young brothers as well as a poem by an Appleton East High School student and poems by three adults will be included this year.

To date the shortest and at the same time, arguably the most thought-provoking poem isn’t much of a poem at all. The submission by five-year-old Ayden and three-year-old Ezra Littman simply reads, “Let's take the long way home.”

Julie Littman is the mother of the two boys and says the saying started out as part of frequent trips she takes with her boys to Highview Park.

“Highview Park has two ways in and out and the one closest to our house is straight, or what I call the short way,” Littman said. “One day when I was in a hurry to get home to make dinner and I told my boys it was time to go, my oldest son (Ayden) said ‘let’s take the long way home,’ and so we did.”

Littman says the longer route through the park only adds a few extra minutes to their walk home, but the more she thought about it, the more she says the phrase has a deeper meaning for her.

“Both the boys say it every time now and through the mind of a child it’s so innocent, but now it reminds me to take time to keep in perspective what’s important and that life shouldn’t just be about getting from point A to point B.”

Also included in this year’s class of poems is one by Wisconsin’s poet laureate, Karla Huston. Huston is the 2nd Appleton resident to be named Wisconsin’s poet laureate, taking over the role earlier this year. The other is the late Ellen Kort, who also has a poem stamped in our sidewalk poetry program.

Huston’s poem is titled “Dogology” and as you may guess, will immediately have you thinking about man’s best friend.

All five of the poems will be stamped later this spring, with each being stamped several times in various locations around the city as part of our sidewalk replacement program.

The sidewalk poetry program started in 2014. Department of Public Works Director Paula Vandehey brought the idea to Appleton following a conference in the Twin Cities where she learned about the program from a St. Paul artist. 

A listing of poems and the locations where they are stamped throughout the city is available here.

The poets selected for this year’s program will be recognized at the April 5 Common Council meeting. Littman says when she got the call, fittingly, she and her boys were in the middle of taking the long way home from their afternoon at the park.  

A stamping ceremony for this year’s poems will take place later this spring.


2017 Sidewalk Poems


Ayden & Ezra Littman

Let’s take the long way home 


“Dogology” by Karla Huston

the song

is in his tail

little god

in his eyes



Jennifer Levenhagen

sometimes the silence

is all we really needed

to hear more clearly 


Sarah Burg

I have lived the unimaginable,

borne witness to tragedy,

my soul set aflame.

And yet, by the strength

of the human condition,

I am still here.

Still rising, still hoping,

with your spirit as my guide. 


Ana Vicker

You struggle to understand

That a whole city

Can be lit up

By your happiness


Appleton Communications Coordinator Chad Doran can be reached at (920) 832-5814 or

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