Poetry in Motion

A new partnership will bring poetry to the Cap Metro fleet

By Monica Riese, Fri., June 15, 2012

Capital Metro records millions 
of boardings each year.
Capital Metro records millions of boardings each year.
Photo by John Anderson

"Tiny and beautiful things. Getting lost in every passing moment.
An old man whispering surreptitiously to a house plant."

– from Nick St. John's "How I Came To Work at the Wendy's"

Transportation often finds itself at the heart of poetry; something about the metaphors of motion keeps the two entwined.

But it's more rare we find poetry in the heart of transportation. We treat our buses and trains (well, train, singular) as a means to an end, ignoring some of their innate beauty.

Thanks to a new partnership between Capital Metro and the Austin Poetry Society, that could soon change. The transit authority is giving over unused ad space inside its fleet to signage featuring poems.

In a new contest called Poetry With Wheels, Austinites 18 and older are encouraged to submit original poems of 50 words or fewer (maximum eight lines, in English or Spanish) about the subject of their choosing: work, Austin, family – even the buses themselves. There's no limit to the number of submissions a person can make. Email entries to buses@austinpoetrysociety.org, or mail them to:

Poetry With Wheels
Austin Poetry Society
PO Box 684672
Austin, TX 78768

As Cap Metro CEO Linda Watson put it in a press release announcing the program: "Our buses are the perfect backdrop for art and poetry. ... We can support the cultural arts in our community while also giving a little something back to our riders."

See the society's website for complete submission guidelines, and look around next time you're on board a Cap Metro bus: You might not see any poems up yet, but there's other beauty to be found on both sides of those windows.

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