The Language of Water: Poetry on Buses

Image courtesy of avocadogirlfriend on flikrBy Library Staff

Do you have a thirst for verse? Well, there’s a way to quench it! The Poetry on Buses Public Art Program, a partnership between 4Culture and Metro Transit, invites poets of all inclinations to submit a poem around a particular theme.  The 2016 theme is “Your Body of Water” and the Office of Arts & Culture, Sound Transit, Seattle Public Utilities, King County Water and Land Division and The Seattle Public Library are also taking the plunge.

Anyone who resides in King County, Washington is eligible to submit one poem up to 50 words in length on the theme of water from May 15 through September 30 at If selected, your poem will be on the move!  Through rain, fog, mist and sun, waves of people will witness your words.  This is, almost, better than having your poem parked in the dark of a closed book! Without even trying, people are going to look up, look over and take in your words on buses, in transit stations and on an online poetry portal.

Get into the flow!  There will be workshops with poets and community liaisons to begin the work of developing poems. All kinds of poems in all kinds of languages such as Amharic, Chinese, English, Tlingit, Punjabi, Spanish and more will be put to the page.  If your work is selected, you will be a part of a splashy celebration.  Even if your work is not selected, you’re invited to come on in and celebrate the poets who immersed themselves in the libation of language and drink in the fruits of their labor.

Are you poem shy? All you have to do is try and try, again! Get started!  Wade around. Dive deep. The water’s fine! Jump right in! To keep yourself afloat, we’ve developed several resource lists to inspire, inform and encourage the poem-making process.   In Watering Words:  How to Grow a Poem you’ll find sources for instructions on the poem-making process as well as works to increase your understanding of poetry. The Well-Watered Life:  Some Information Some Inspiration is, exactly that, books about water in its many forms, uses, usefulness and importance.  Between Water and Song:  Poems for the Thirsty consists of collections of poetry which either focus on water or include one or more poems with water as a theme. Lastly, The Language of Water: Poems from Transitory Tongues includes bilingual or untranslated poems that swim across tongue and ear in cadences from afar and near.

Image courtesy of eltpics on FlikrIn the misty midst of a moment, a poem begins, surrounding you with possibility, filling your day, pouring itself into every pore. Poems are formed by way of precipitation, vapor and ice.  Poems come running along streets and byways begging you to notice every splotch and splatter.  A poem can rise up, flood your mind, flow or stagnate.  Wait. Be patient. Every drip and dribble will build to a drenching rain. Pour it onto a page.  Send that poem in to Poetry on the Buses.  One fine day it just might pass you by.

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