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Poetry in Transit returns for its 18th year!

One of the 20 poems that will be featured around the system on buses and transit shelters! (Photo: Gerilee McBride)

One of the 20 poems that will be featured around the system on buses and transit shelters! (Photo: Gerilee McBride)

TransLink will once again be partnering with the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia (ABPBC) to bring you the eighteenth year of Poetry in Transit!

Running since 1996, this program is a great way to profile talented British Columbian and Canadian poets and provide our customers with poetry to read on their commutes.

There will be a total of 20 poems on the system – 10 poetry car cards on buses and 10 transit shelter ads – over the next year. We’ll be profiling one poet and their poem each month on the Buzzer blog for the next ten months, so be on the look out for those!

To mark the launch of this year’s Poetry in Transit, ABPBC will be presenting an event on Sunday, September 28 at 4 p.m. as part of Word Vancouver. A bus with all car cards will be on display on Homer Street by the Vancouver Public Library on Georgia Street.

The event will be hosted by Vancouver’s outgoing Poet Laureate Evelyn Lau. She tells us Poetry in Transit is an important initiative that allows poets to reach more people – bringing poetry into everyday life.

Evelyn Lau (Photo by Pearl Pirie / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Evelyn Lau (Photo by Pearl Pirie / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

“Every year, poets who are selected for the program tell me how they appreciate having their work reach audiences that wouldn’t normally pick up a book of poetry or attend a poetry reading,” she says. “I think we all as poets feel our audience tends to be narrow and tends to be fellow poets. Something such as Poetry in Transit reaches far beyond that community.”

Evelyn credits the program for bringing poetry into public spaces so people who wouldn’t consider themselves poetry fans can run into one while waiting for a bus.

“It’s such an amazing way for them to engage with literature and in a way that is just part of everyday life. Here you are going home from work and you’re having an intimate experience with a poem. You can react to it in a really emotional way or just find it amusing,” she says.

“I’ve heard from a number of writers who have had emails from complete strangers who have read their poem on the bus and had some kind of response to it. It is extremely gratifying.”

TransLink is proud to be supporting this program by donating ad space from the company’s reserve. It is also supported by Canada Council for the Arts, Canadian Heritage, the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia (ABPBC), Creative BC, BC Transit, and the Vancouver Writers Fest.

You can join the conversation about Poetry on Transit by leaving a comment or on Twitter by searching and using the hashtag #PoetryInTransit!

Author: Allen Tung


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