meanwhile, in Nashville…

December 29, 2018

The Poetry in Motion® program was launched in 1992 by the Poetry Society of America (PSA) and “is today one of the most popular public literary programs in American history.” We’ve mentioned it here before.

In most cities, winning poems appear on placards that are posted inside the buses. In Nashville, Tennessee, the Music City competition solicits poems of 25 words or less and the winning words are printed on the outside of the bus (as well as on placards, fare cards, and bus shelters). Fun!

poetry on wheels

January 8, 2016

Bellingham Transit Company buses 1938

We have occasionally mentioned rider-friendly poetry that appears on buses, such as the winning poems from the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest on Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) buses in Whatcom County, Poetry On Buses in Seattle, and Poetry in Plain Sight in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

An article in the January 3, 2016, Seattle Times, “Riders find the meter is running when they board Vancouver buses” (reprinted from The Columbian), announces the first round of Poetry Moves bus cards in Vancouver, Washington. While neighboring Portland, Oregon, has been part of the nationwide Poetry in Motion transit poetry program for a while, this is the inaugural ride for C-Tran in Vancouver. See the poems here. Organizers Christopher Luna and Toni Partington expect to move ahead with a second round later in 2016.

For more poetry on the move, there’s Poetry in Transit in British Columbia, which has been placing poetry in TransLink and BC Transit vehicles and transit shelters each year since 1996. There’s a PDF of each year’s car cards on the Poetry in Transit site.

The Athens, Ohio, On the Bus program places poems on the outside of buses and continues them on the windows.

In San Antonio, Texas, Poetry on the Move, now in its seventh year, places poems in buses and passenger vans during National Poetry Month.

Enjoy your ride!
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WTA photo: brand new Bellingham Transit Company buses lined up in front of Bellingham High School, December 1938

Poetry on Buses

October 1, 2014

King County, Washington

This year’s ambitious King County, Washington, project known as Poetry on Buses is nearing completion and getting ready for a November launch.

Founded in 1992, Poetry on Buses is sponsored by 4Culture and King County Metro. The 2014 project, coordinated by poet Roberto Ascalon, involved a series of eight Community Poetry Workshops (in English, Russian, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese) and yielded a selection of 365 winning poems.

All 365 poems will be featured, one a day, on the Poetry on Buses website and 125 of them will appear on select RapidRide buses or stations around King County.

The official launch party will be held on Monday, November 10, 2014, at Seattle’s Moore Theatre. All of the poems will be on display, 36 of the poets will read, plus there will be live music and special guests. It’s free, so mark your calendar, visit Poetry on Buses on Facebook, and then watch for the roll-out of Poetry on Buses around King County.

Here’s a link to more poetry on buses projects.

poetry on buses

June 14, 2014

City Symbiosis, by David Hill, photo © Julie Kolischak

Later this summer, beautiful placards of the winning poems from the 2014 Sue Boynton Poetry Contest will be installed in Whatcom Transportation Authority buses to circulate the county for the next year. Meanwhile, here’s another installation in the poetry bus archive:

In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a writers’ group, a press and a local bookstore have collaborated to create Poetry in Plain Sight, a project that places poems in the windows of businesses and in city buses. Now in its second year, the project focuses on the work of North Carolina poets and switches the poems once a month in businesses and once a quarter in buses.

See more about Poetry in Plain Sight from Winston-Salem Writers, on Facebook and in this article in the Winston-Salem Journal.

And here’s a footnote to this poetry-bus post: To mark the 215th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Pushkin (June 6), the city of Novosibirsk, Siberia, offered free rides on the underground to anyone who could recite two verses from one of the poet’s works. Read more from BBC News.
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City Symbiosis, by David Hill, photo © Julie Kolischak

Dana Killmeyer, UNLV MFA studentThere’s a venerable tradition linking poetry and buses. We’ve posted on this topic before and here’s one more. In Las Vegas, Nevada, Dana Killmeyer, an MFA student at UNLV, decided to take poetry to the people, recruiting fellow poet Shannon Salter to read poems on board the bus known as the “Deuce.” Read more about their surprise performance in “Captive audience: An ambush poetry reading on the public bus.” For additional links to the poetry-bus tradition, read about the Wave Books Poetry Bus cross-country tour in 2006 (more on that from the Poetry Foundation) and on-the-bus readings in Vancouver, BC.
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Photo: Yasmina Chavez

poetry on the bus…

July 8, 2013

At One Hundred by Elisabeth Yarbakhsh

Each year, the winning poems from the Sue Boynton Poetry Contest are first turned into beautiful placards by Egress Studio and then installed inside Whatcom Transportation Authority buses that serve the entire county. This year’s poems should be in place soon (we’ll let you know), but meanwhile, here’s another poetry-on-the-bus story.

Canberra, Australia, is celebrating its 100th birthday this year and the festivities included a poetry contest. From 270 submissions, three judges selected ten winning poems to display on the city’s ACTION buses. While one or two poems per bus is the norm, all ten were on display in a single bus for the project’s official opening in late June. At that event — passengers and poets bundled for June’s deep-winter weather — the poets also read their poems aloud to an attentive (if not captive) audience.

Read more in The Canberra Times and see all of the winning poems as well as the ten ‘shortlisted’ poems on the Poetry in ACTION page.

poetry on the bus…

April 30, 2013

Poetry in Transit, Pennsylvania

Each year, the winning poems from the Sue Boynton Poetry Contest are turned into beautiful placards (by Egress Studio) and displayed inside Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) buses, riding around Whatcom County for an entire year.

We’re always happy to find other communities that treat bus riders to poetry, including the area around Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, which is served by the Luzerne County Transportation Authority. Founded in 2007 by Wilkes University Associate Professor of English Dr. Mischelle Anthony (who still coordinates the program), Poetry in Transit posted well-known poets the first year, but since then has put out a call to local residents as well as students and faculty at four area colleges. Each year’s poems address a theme and are limited to six lines or fewer.

The 2013 Sue Boynton Poetry Contest placards will be placed in WTA buses in about July. Meanwhile, enjoy the 2012 poems while they last.

Read about other poetry-on-the-bus programs.
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Poetry in Transit design by Mark Golaszewski

busses for buses…

August 30, 2012

WTA bus
Once again, the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest extends gratitude to the Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) for posting the 25 winning poems from the 2012 contest in buses serving routes throughout Whatcom County. The poetry placards, designed by Egress Studio, will remain on display for a year, until they are replaced by the 2013 winning poems. Because each bus serves different routes, we are unable to pinpoint a particular poem on a particular bus, so…

ride the bus…read a poem!

Juneau jumps on the bus…

January 29, 2012

Juneau - poetry omnibusThe appeal of poetry-on-the-bus continues to spread. We noticed that the Juneau, Alaska, Public Library is now inviting Juneau residents to submit poems for a new Poetry OmniBus project. Ride, poets, ride!

More poetry bus posts.
Poetry OmniBus logo

on the bus down under…

January 12, 2012

Great Barrier Reef poemPoems on the bus soothe and inspire. They offer respite from boredom and relief from ugly advertisements. Getting your poem on the bus is, of course, an important benefit of being a Sue Boynton Poetry Contest winner. Reading poems is also a perk for bus riders in Australia’s capital, Canberra, where Poetry in ACTION has commissioned and displayed a series of poems each year since 2007. Visit the Poetry in Action website to see larger (PDF) versions of the 2011 winning poems and find a link to previous-year winners.