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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 collaborateswith 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

Last year we celebrated Poetry in Motion® 2018 with Mayor Briley and MTA, along with our project partners Southern Word and the Porch. This event attracted 89 on lookers and was an example of the literary creativity that breads in our city.

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

Over 50 transit riders engaged in a *cypher-style demonstration that merges music and poetry. Southern Word handed out popsicles, entertained riders, and encourage community members to get on the mic and show off their skills in the lower level of Music City Central. You do not want to miss this next year.

* Cypher- A shared musical or poetic (common in rap) freestyle performance with multiple performers that take cyclical turns performing.

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

The Porch Writer's Collective road the buses and engaged their Poetry On Demand program to capture the stories of bus riders through the artistic expression of poetry. Poems from those stories were sent directly to the riders after their interview experience on the bus.

Students’ Poems to Appeared 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