Above: Poetry in Transit in Vancouver via The Canada Project

Riding the bus is not everyone’s favourite thing, and perhaps not the place many of us go to find something beautiful or artistic. I know my preferred method of bus-riding is to put on headphones and look down into a book or my lap, avoiding eye contact, and really just wanting to be off the bus. Clearly, it’s not my favourite way to travel either.

Nanaimo’s Poet Laureate, Naomi Beth Wakan, has inspired the Poetry in Transit program—a way to change the way we ride the bus, and to change our experiences of the city we all share. Poets have been submitting their works with the theme being “Riding the Bus,” and the works will be revealed to all on April 9. Set to be unveiled at the Harbourfront location of the Vancouver Island Regional Library, the first set of poems will be on display on an on-site bus starting at 1 p.m.

Wakan, who proposed the idea, shared her feelings on the event, saying, “I am delighted that my suggestion that poetry should go on Nanaimo buses has been so speedily taken up and made a reality by the Culture and Heritage Department, and that it has also been embraced by Nanaimo poets who have sent in their poems about riding in buses.  Look out!  They are coming to buses on your route soon.”

April will mark the 17th anniversary of National Poetry Month here in Canada, and so this new program will celebrate local poets, as well as the national celebration of our arts community that comes every April.

While this first round of poems has been selected and will be unveiled April 9, it is still possible to have your poems selected for display in the next round of submissions. If you are interested in submitting your works for possible selection, see contacts and guidelines at cnan.ca/1o6Xqbo.

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