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N.S. writers’ federation looking for poems to be featured on transit ads, digital signs at libraries

The deadline for Poetry in Motion submissions is Friday, May 31.
The deadline for Poetry in Motion submissions is Friday, May 31. Getty Images

Nova Scotia poets are being called to turn transit ads in buses and ferry terminals into pieces of poetry.

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) is creating a public poetry art project call Poetry in Motion that will feature poems on digital signs at libraries and recreation centres as well as printed postcards throughout the Halifax Regional Municipality in the fall. 

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“When you’re on the bus, you’re either tuned out, listening to music or you’re looking at your phone. But if there was a poem there, it would be interesting. It would engage your mind,” Marilyn Smulders, executive director of the WFNS, explained.

Poetry in Motion will showcase poems that speak to the theme of home, which may touch on ideas around transportation, transit, accessibility, the East Coast, city living, coming home or leaving home.

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“It might contribute to a sense of belonging and would celebrate the uniqueness of our home community,” Smulders said.

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“It would also enhance Halifax’s reputation as a cultural destination.”

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How poetry is being shared across cultures in Winnipeg
How poetry is being shared across cultures in Winnipeg

Smulders said the idea for the project was inspired by similar projects happening across North America. For example, the city of Vancouver, Wash., has Poetry Moves, which features short poems on its C-Tran buses, while another program showcases poems on Toronto buses.

“It’s nice for poets because they get a place to have their poems seen and read widely,” Smulders said.

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Poems must be by Nova Scotian residents who are 16 years of age or older, with residents being asked to submit work that is 10 lines or less.

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According to the WFNS website, unpublished and previously published work will be considered, but authors must obtain permission to use poems that have previously appeared in a book.

Poets whose poems are selected for this project will be paid a $200 honorarium and will be invited to read their poem in person at the Poetry in Motion celebration event.

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The deadline for the submissions is Friday, May 31.