The next time you stroll along the Corvallis downtown waterfront, be sure to take a peek at the Madison Street side of the business at 134 SW First Street – you’ll be treated to local poetry.

The Poetry Marquee

In 1998, Linda Modrell, then a Benton County Commissioner, was presented with the sign of the defunct Midway Theater (formerly located on Hwy 20). Modrell wanted the sign preserved and enjoyed by the public. David Livingston of Endex Engineering generously volunteered to restore and hang the sign on an Endex-owned building, on the corner of First and Madison Avenues.

Once the sign was in place, David Livingston approached The Arts Center about filling the sign with artwork. Hester Coucke, The Arts Center’s Curator, suggested that poetry would be an art form true to the original purpose of the sign: a means for displaying words. The Arts Center formed a committee to select the poems, and Endex Engineering continues to provide volunteer help in hanging the new poems periodically.

Send in Your Poetry for Consideration!

We encourage a diverse selection of artists and poets to apply, including those from traditionally or currently underserved communities including (but not limited to): artists from rural communities, emerging artists, artists from communities of color, LGBTQ+, and artists who are self-taught. We welcome artists’ participation regardless of citizenship status, color, familial status, gender identity or expression, religious observance, sex, sexual orientation, and sources or level of income. 

  • Submissions are reviewed all year long. Please limit yours to three poems max.
  • No bios or publication histories are necessary.
  • Because this is a public display, topics, and themes should be appropriate for all ages.
  • Poets must reside in Linn or Benton County at the time of display. 
  • Due to the size of the marquee, the maximum number of lines, including the title, is seven. The poet’s name will be printed smaller below the poem and does not count as a line. 
  • Poets chosen for display will be informed via email shortly before the marquee is rotated. All who submit a poem will be notified that your poem reached our inbox.
  • Poets can only be on the marquee ONCE per calendar year.

Email poetry submissions, with contact information (name, address, email, and telephone number) and SUBJECT: Poetry Marquee Submission, to

Visit the Poetry Marquee in person! 

Go to 134 Southwest 1st Street, Corvallis, OR — the sign is hung on the South side of the building. Locate on Google Maps.

Autumn Leaves

Make the autumn leaves fall
Jump in them, jump in them
until the snowy owls call
My mom says it’s time to go to bed.
But I lay awake in the dark
with pictures of leaves and rain in my head.
– Samantha Zeck

1st Place Winner, Youth Poetry Contest 2010

Winter Dusk, Diamond Lake

That elegant nymph, the new moon,
lounges against a volcanic peak.
Snow blown across ice.
In other seasons, I forget lakes keep secrets.
Silence is the mother of
a raven is the father of silence.
Marjorie Power

Herself as a Child

Herself as a child
She remembers as daydreamy, sad.
Her mother remembers
a girl in a plaid red coat, skipping through leaves,
a line of classmates behind her.
Eleanor Berry

American Baseball

American Baseball… Without it, would it be Summer,
without the swing of a bat, would it be Spring?
Boys of wonder, these half-grown men
who slide into second, hit homers, flies,
forever frozen in memory,
mingled with mustard, hotdogs and dust,
perfect as the diamonds they will go under.
Roger Weaver