Poetry In Motion program returns on MTA buses

The Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission (Metro Arts) announces the return of the nationally renowned Poetry in Motion program. In partnership with MTA and Southern Word, the program features the words of emerging youth poets inside Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) vehicles across the city.

Created in 1992 by the Poetry Society of America, Poetry in Motion was designed to showcase classic and contemporary poetry in public transit vehicles. The program has appeared in more than 30 cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.—making its debut on Nashville MTA vehicles in 2012.

“Turning poetry into public art is another example of our commission’s goal to make art and culture accessible to everyone in Nashville. It also provides a great outlet for our youth poets to share their voice in the community and to showcase their great work,” said Jennifer Cole, executive director of Metro Arts.

Southern Word, Inc. collaborated with Metro Arts on a contest for youth poets, ages 13 to 17, to submit entries focusing on the theme ‘Poetry in Motion to Act, Resist, and Change for Harmony (MARCH).’

This theme was influenced by the Nashville Reads Book March Book One, a graphic novel by Civil Rights veteran, Sen. John Lewis, and featured book in the annual Citywide Read.

The eight winners whose works will be displayed on MTA buses include:
Nori Fuller, Meigs Academic Magnet Middle School
Noa Thompson, Meigs Academic Magnet Middle School
Ephie Hauck, W. H. Oliver Middle Prep
Yug Patel, Head Middle Magnet Prep
Sanaan Sutton, Head Middle Magnet Prep
Iman Omer, Head Middle Magnet Prep
Philip Seagraves, Valor Collegiate
Crisman Arnold, Valor Collegiate

“We are pleased to partner with Metro Arts on this very worthwhile initiative again,” said Nashville MTA and Regional Transportation Authority CEO Steve Bland. “With more and more students riding public transit due to the implementation of our StrIDe youth ridership program, the emphasis on art from young people this year is an added bonus.”

April marks both National Poetry Month and 30 Days of Transit in the Nashville region.

The collaboration shows a key commitment to the role of youth riders in the system and the role of public transit in cultural access and equity in Nashville/Davidson County.