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Poetry in Motion®

Poetry Bus

Nashville has been a proud participant in the national Poetry in Motion® program since 2012.

Created in 1992 by the Poetry Society of America, Poetry in Motion® was designed to showcase classic and contemporary poetry in public transit vehicles. The program has appeared in more than 30 cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C., and made its debut on Nashville MTA vehicles in 2012. This year, Nashville’s sixth to participate, marks the city’s largest celebration of Poetry in Motion® to date.

Metro Arts collaborates with the Nashville Metro Transit Authority (MTA) each year to bring poems to the public via city buses during National Poetry Month (April). Selected poems showcase the work of youth and adult poets and graphic designers and have included partnerships with NCAA Women's Final Four, Nashville Scene, Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, No Starving Artist, Southern Word, and Nossi College of Art.

Poetry in Motion® 2018 Day of Celebration

Come celebrate Poetry in Motion® 2018 with Mayor Briley, MTA, and Metro Arts along with our project partners Southern Word and the Porch

Where: the plaza of Music City Central- 400 Charlotte Avenue Nashville TN 37219

When: 4 p.m. on Monday April 16, 2018

Poetry in Motion® 2018 A Day of Spoken Word with Southern Word

Come engage in a cyper-style demonstration that merges music and poetry with Southern Word.

Where: the lower level of Music City Central- Charlotte Avenue Nashville TN 37219

When: 4 p.m. on Monday April 23, 2018

Poetry in Motion® 2018 A Day of poetry with the Porch

Come get a poem read to you, wrote for you, or write one yourself with the Porch Writer's Collective.

Where: the waiting rooms of Music City Central-Charlotte Avenue Nashville TN 37219

When; 4 p.m. on Monday April 30, 2018

Parking is available on the street and in the garage (entrance on Charlotte).

Poetry in Motion® 2018 Returns in April to MTA Buses

Nashville’s public transit passengers will experience the sights and sounds of local poetry during their commutes next month, as Poetry in Motion® returns to the city’s buses. Metro Arts and the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) have partnered to bring winning poems from local students and adults to MTA’s fare cards, pamphlets, on-bus placards and audio announcements, and to the wrapped exterior of a dedicated Poetry Bus, throughout April, National Poetry Month.

“We are pleased to partner with Metro Arts on this very worthwhile initiative again,” said Nashville MTA and Regional Transportation Authority CEO Steve Bland. “As we move to expand ridership and the rider experience throughout our transit system, poetry and art are a great way to reflect our community and engage our riders.”

Metro Arts partnered with Southern Word and The Porch Writers Collective to engage students and adults in poetry contests centered around the theme “The Power of Movement.” Winning poems will fill the visual space aboard buses, and for the first time, riders can board a “Poetry Bus” completely wrapped in poems and hear winning poetry over the on-board audio announcements.

Nashvillians can tour the Poetry Bus, view winning poems from students and adults, and hear the readings and performances of poets from Southern Word and The Porch at the Poetry in Motion® Celebration Day, 4-6 p.m. on April 16, 2018, at Music City Central. The event will also feature the release of a free community poetry anthology curated by The Porch Writers Collective.

“Buses, sidewalks and crosswalks are critical parts of our community and our safety and mobility,” said Metro Arts Executive Director Jennifer Cole. “Metro Arts is committed to working with residents, artists, and public and private partners to integrate art into the infrastructure we all need to be safe and mobile in our neighborhoods. Poetry is just another vehicle for our commission’s goal to make art and culture accessible to everyone in Nashville.”

Students’ Poems to Appear on Bus Placards, Poetry Bus

Southern Word, Inc. collaborated with Metro Arts on a contest for youth poets, ages 13 to 17, to submit entries focusing on the theme “The Power of Movement.” Ninety-nine students entered the contest, and the eight winners who will be featured on placard ads and the Blue Route bus are:

  • Edward Jimenez-Arias, Croft Design Center Middle Prep
  • Leonora Boshier, Isaac Litton Middle Prep
  • Mason Newbury, Nashville School of the Arts
  • Michael Corder, Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet
  • Sierra Gray, Isaac Litton Middle Prep
  • Scarlett Jones, Homeschool
  • Sydney Owens, Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet
  • Kendall Grimes, Head Middle Magnet Prep

According to MTA, Nashville youth under age 18 rode public transit to and from school more than 1.8 million times last year, and Southern Word’s contest highlights how critical public transit is to public education.

Adults’ Winning Haiku Poems Featured on Fare Cards, Pamphlets, Poetry Bus

The Porch Writer’s Collective, in collaboration with Metro Arts, engaged the community in a citywide haiku contest, asking residents to draft the traditional three-line Japanese poem around the issues of mobility, inclusion and access. The 15 winning poets whose haiku will be printed on fare cards, in The Porch anthology and on the Poetry Bus are:

  • Christy Nicholson, Grand Prize Winner
  • Aubrey Woods, Grand Prize Runner-up
  • John Silkey, Grand Prize Runner-up
  • Bryan Byrdlong
  • Robert Longhauser
  • Elisa Hertzan
  • Bob Hunter Boyd
  • Grace Adams
  • Isabella Johnson
  • Emma Miller
  • Layne Gardner
  • Darius Kindle
  • Lindsay Garric
  • Barbara Santoro
  • Isabella Margot

Poetry in Motion Celebration Day!

Poetry in Motion fare card

Monday, April 16

4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Remarks with the Mayor at 4 p.m.

MTA's Music City Central Bus Depot Plaza

(between MCC and Municipal Auditorium)

400 Charlotte Ave.

Parking is available on the street and in the MCC garage. The entrance to the garage is on the Charlotte avenue side of the building. The plaza is located between Music City Central and the Municipal Auditorium just beyond the Megabus stop.

Let us know you are coming to the Poetry in Motion Celebration. (RSVP not required.)