Poetry on Buses: Your Body of Water

Poetry on Buses 2016-2017, portrait of Jourdan Keith, Poet Planner. Photo by Timothy Aguero Photography.

Poetry on Buses is back! In celebration of National Poetry Month, we are proud to partner with the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture to announce a brand new season of this beloved public art program. In addition to an online poetry portal showcasing one new poem for each day of the year, this year brings community-sourced poetry in new languages, on more transit systems, and all centered on a new theme: water.

All King County residents are invited to submit a poem to the program online May 15 through September 30! Poems must be no more than 50 words in length and must explore the theme of water. More information—as well as the full body of poetry from last year’s program—is available at poetryonbuses.org.

Developed by Jourdan Keith, Poetry on Buses’ 2016 Poet Planner, the theme “Your Body of Water” is a poetic exploration of our connections to water. “We are all bodies of water, connected to one another through the water web,” says Keith. “Your body of water is connected to streams, rivers, lakes, tides, waterfalls, toilets and faucets…to present homes, childhood homes, and ancestral ones by memory, by the water cycle, and by stories. Come tell your story through poetry!” Keith brings more than 15 years of experience as a poet, playwright, creative non-fiction writer, and founding Director of Urban Wilderness Project to the program.

Joining Keith in leading King County in poetic exploration are an incredible team of community liaisons, who work  collaboratively with poets and Poetry on Buses staff to shape bilingual workshops tailored to the needs of King County’s diverse communities. Held from May to September, this series of free poetry workshops encourages the public to submit a poem, and is focused on the Chinese, Ethiopian, Punjabi, Spanish-speaking, African American, and Tlingit communities. Everyone is welcome to attend a workshop!

• May 1, Punjabi Workshop, Khalsa Gurmat Center, 1:30-4 p.m.
• May 15, Ethiopian Workshop, Ethiopian Community Center, 1-3:30 p.m.
• May 27, Tlingit Workshop, NW Film Forum, after party at Vermillion, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
• June 4, Spanish workshop, Seattle Central Library, 12:30-3:30 p.m.
• July 29, Chinese Workshop, Redmond Senior Center, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
• August 12, Chinese Workshop, Chinese Information Services Center, 3-5 p.m.
• August 13, English/African American Workshop, Life Enrichment Bookstore, 6-8 p.m.
• August 20, Spanish Workshop, Burien Community Center, 1-4 p.m.
• September 11, Punjabi Workshop, Khalsa Gurmat Center, 1:30-4 p.m.
• September 18, Ethiopian Workshop, Assimba Ethiopian Cuisine, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

An expanded Poetry on Buses program is made possible through a partnership between 4Culture, the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Sound Transit, King County Metro, King County Wastewater Treatment Division, King County Water and Land Resources Divisions, and Seattle Public Utilities. Poetry on Buses is managed by the Public Art staff at 4Culture and the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture using both transit- and water-related Percent-for-Art Dollars and Equity Initiative funds allocated for the commissioning and management of art in public space. It is supported through a grant from Amazon Literary Partnership.