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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 14, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 15
Poetry on Buses takes a poetic stand on water

Launches with FREE CELEBRATION April 24
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Poetry on Buses takes a poetic stand on water

Launches with FREE CELEBRATION April 24

POETRY ON BUSES
COMMUNITY CELEBRATION
MOORE THEATRE
April 24 @ 7:30pm


An expanded Poetry on Buses launches on Monday, April 24, with a celebration at Seattle's historic Moore Theatre (1932 2nd Ave. at Virginia St.), featuring community poets, live music and dance performances. Doors open at 6:30pm and the program begins at 7:30pm. The event is FREE and designed for all ages. This year, Poetry on Buses will feature 365 poems published online and on King County Metro Transit, Sound Transit Link light rail and Seattle Streetcar. The poems run April 2017 through April 2018.

Over 1,600 poems submitted
Solicited in 2016 from King County residents, including students and immigrants, over 1,600 original poems on the theme of water were submitted for consideration. Transit riders can look forward to four Metro Transit buses, two Sound Transit Link Light Rail trains and one Seattle Streetcar dedicated to poetry, presenting poems exclusively with no advertisements. Additional poems will be shared across Metro Transit buses.

A conversation about water in the community
The theme 'Your Body of Water' underscores the essential role water plays in our lives and reminds us how we are all connected. Poetry on Buses Poet Planner Jourdan Keith, together with community liaisons, organized eleven community poetry workshops to encourage the public to submit poems.

The community liaisons worked collaboratively with local poets and Poetry on Buses staff to shape bilingual workshops tailored to the needs of Seattle and King County's diverse communities. These workshops focused on Chinese, Ethiopian, Punjab, Spanish-speaking, Tlingit and African American communities.

'Since I have been involved with Poetry on Buses, water pollution has been the frame for understanding disparity in the U.S., from Flint to Standing Rock,' says Keith, Poet Planner. 'The concerns about water quality cycle through our thoughts across the continent. Just like water, they move.'

Multilingual poetry
Along with addressing topics of water justice and water conservation, the poems also explore themes such as rain, memory, family and discovery. The poems are written in eight languages (Chinese, Amharic, Punjabi, Spanish, Tlingit, Russian, Vietnamese and English) and create a record of local voices including youth, Indigenous and African American poets.

POEMS

Poem by Renton resident Kiana Davis titled 'Float'

FLOAT
Walking miles on land

their bloodlines watered with their sweat, blood, and tears

for justice, a faucet slow dripping poisoned lead water into the mouths of children

cries for clean water, asylum, and peace

are met with contempt and death

not to drown in the waves of inhumanity

they walk...

Ten-year-old Helen Zhang of Seattle shows how we are connected to animals through water in 'Keep our water clean' KEEP OUR WATER CLEAN
If not We won't be able to drink, shower, swim and see sea animals We won't be able to see pretty colors of the sea and plants and animals that need water to live Garbage kills animals and harms the sea Keep our ocean clean Poem by Seattle spoken word poet and artist Ebo Barton titled 'Value' VALUE
When you're drowning, your lungs will learn water.

You will suffocate and it will take you

but your lungs will learn water

How can you expect me to drown?

How can I wear this gender when it was water all along?

Partnerships
An expanded Poetry on Buses program is made possible through a partnership between 4Culture, City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Sound Transit, King County Metro Transit, Seattle Streetcar, Intersection, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks: Wastewater Treatment and Water and Land Resources Divisions, and Seattle Public Utilities. Poetry on Buses is managed by the Public Art staff at 4Culture and 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.

About Poetry on Buses
Poetry on Buses is King County's most populist public art program, featuring poems by established poets alongside first-time poets. Poetry on Buses began in 1992 as a partnership between 4Culture and King County Metro Transit to present poetry by local community members on buses. It was rebooted in 2014-15 with poems and workshops in five languages and an online poetry portal showcasing 365 poems - one new poem released every day of a year.

Courtesy of 4Culture and Seattle Office of Arts & Culture

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PHOTO CREDIT: Timothy Aguero Photography for the photograph.
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Poetry on Buses takes a poetic stand on water

Launches with FREE CELEBRATION April 24

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