Area bus riders can look forward to a new year of words and images to brighten up their daily rides when the eighth year of Poetry in Transit launches on Friday, Dec. 19. Eleven new placards showcasing the original work of 11 area poets will be unveiled at a special event at Barnes & Noble in downtown Wilkes-Barre. The free event will include a poetry reading by featured poets and is open to the public.
Poetry in Transit was started in 2007 by Mischelle Anthony, Wilkes University associate professor of English, who continues to coordinate the program. Poems are highlighted with original artwork and photography on placards that are displayed in the spaces on Luzerne County Transportation Authority buses traditionally reserved for commercial advertisements and are rotated monthly for one year.
This year’s theme, “Luzerne County Local,” features poems by Richard Aston, Mary K. Hooker and Margie E. Thoma of Wilkes-Barre, Bob Quarteroni and Corine Coniglio of Swoyersville, Harold Jenkins of Scranton, David Guiliarelli of Ashley, Barbara Crooker of Fogelsville,
Lois Szymanski of Duryea, Helen Schmid of Kingston and James Hearne of Drums. Poems were selected by an advisory board made up of judges from four area colleges, including Wilkes, Kings College, Penn State Wilkes-Barre and Luzerne County Community College. The placards were designed by Mark Golaszewski.
Inspired by Poetry in Motion on New York’s Transit System and on London’s Poems on the Underground program, the project began with 12 placards featuring the work of established and canonized poets such as Wordsworth, Dickinson and Frost. The work of local poets was introduced to the project in 2008. The program aims to foster a contemplative, positive attitude among the local community, promote poetry and the local writing community and celebrate a common humanity.