About Poetry Moves
Poetry Moves is a program of Artstra in collaboration with C-Tran, providing poetry on bus channel cards in all C-Tran buses. Installed on buses every six months are ten new poems by local and regional poets or student poets, including those involved in the Poets in the Schools program. All buses in the C-Tran fleet display two different poem cards.
The program began with Karen Madsen’s inspiration from New York City’s “Poetry in Motion” program. Madsen first proposed the idea in 2012 at an Artstra meeting at a time when the designation of a county poet laureate was being considered by the Clark County Arts Commission. In spring of 2015, Madsen met with C-Tran to pitch the idea. They loved it and wanted to make it happen. She then suggested the concept to then Clark County Poet Laureate Christopher Luna who agreed to partner with Artstra on the program.
Today the works of local poets are a regular feature on all C-Tran buses. Luna, founder of the Clark County’s Poets in the Schools program, and his partner Toni Lumbrazo Luna, were instrumental in the success of the first two-and-a-half years of Poetry Moves. They used Printed Matter Vancouver, their small press, which also provides editing and coaching services for Northwest writers, to connect with the poetry community, and acted as jurors for poetry submissions for Poetry Moves seasons 1 through 5.
Addressing a human need
A diverse cross section of our community uses public transportation. Thousands of individuals, taking more than six million trips on buses per year in Clark County have needs beyond food, shelter, and physical well-being. Meeting our human need for cultural enrichment and for the kind of sustenance that feeds the soul should not be reserved for a select few. Poetry Moves is a means to share poetry with bus riders. Many people think of “the arts” as visual art, music, or performance and overlook the literary arts. And they think of public art as a statue sitting in a park. This program offers a unique way to share art with the broad and diverse community that rides C-Tran buses, bringing a bit of delight, joy or reflection to riders.
Poetry Moves shares poems from local and regional poets; published or non-professionals and students. It celebrates poetry and how it has been a crucial part of human culture. The need being met is not physical but a matter of the spirit. Buses are often a noisy place and riders are stuck looking out the window or at their screen. Poetry can give a glimpse into a world they may not have had access to. And poems are free to be interpreted as the rider chooses.
Artstra wishes to thank the following organizations and individuals for their partnership and generous support of the Poetry Moves program:
- Clark County Arts Commission
- Christopher Luna, Clark County Poet Laureate, 2013-2017
- Toni Lumbrazo Luna, co-founder of Printed Matter Vancouver
- Gwendolyn Morgan, Clark County Poet Laureate, 2018–2020
- Armin Tolentino, Clark County Poet Laureate, 2020–
- City of Vancouver Washington
- Community Foundation of Southwest Washington