Calling all Poets for "Poetry in Transit" Program

Let’s celebrate poetry and get creative about Nanaimo!


The City of Nanaimo is currently seeking poetry submissions through the "Poetry in Transit" program. The theme is "Riding the Bus". Poets will contribute works that are in some way related to a particular point on a route, a site in Nanaimo or the experience shared while riding the bus. Poems will be selected on the basis of their relation to the theme “riding the bus”, artistic merit and appropriateness for display, either on the bus or online.

Inspired by Nanaimo's Poet Laureate, this partnership between the City of Nanaimo, the Regional District of Nanaimo and the Vancouver Island Regional Library is a way for the many riders of Nanaimo's public transit to rethink and re-know their city.

Strategic Link: Ensure that Nanaimo will have a strong and vibrant culture which evolves with a coordinated and collaborative effort leading to greater popularity as a place to visit, live, work and play.

Key Points

  • The "Poetry in Transit" Program is intended to ask the reader to explore the city through poetry, to understand the spaces and experiences within it differently because of the poems.
  • Poets who currently live within the Regional District of Nanaimo and the City of Nanaimo can submit their poems to Poets can submit up to three (3) poems for review.
  • Poems should be only 3-5 lines (50 words or less) not counting the title.
  • The theme for the 2016 program is "Riding the Bus".


"Poetry on buses, while not a new concept, is certainly novel for the Nanaimo area transit. While advertising has its function, poetry can allow the passengers a moment of quiet thought during their busy day. A moment when they are diverted to consider possibly wider issues than their day to day personal concerns. Often these pauses can allow us to see things in a different perspective and while poetry on buses is not supposed to be therapy, it can lift the spirits for a brief moment and that is not to be undervalued."

Nanaimo's Inaugural Poet Laureate
City of Nanaimo

"RDN Transit is proud to partner with the City of Nanaimo in promoting the arts and literacy on Vancouver Island."

Chair, Transit Select Committee
Regional District of Nanaimo

Quick Facts

  • Riding the bus is a unique experience in public space, rich with both stories and character. It’s an experience where, for a short while, everyone is moving in a similar direction.
  • Reading poetry provides an opportunity to gain a new understanding of the spaces, places and daily routines that we might think we know so well. Perhaps the poetry here will provoke us view and think about Nanaimo and our own experiences differently.


Chris Barfoot
Culture and Heritage Coordinator
City of Nanaimo
Main Office
Culture & Heritage Department
City of Nanaimo

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