Welcome to Poetry on Buses: Your Body of Water!
Every day, thousands of people use public transit—to commute to work, visit family, go to school, to go home. It’s a unique public space, rich with stories.
From its beginning in 1992, to a multi-lingual reboot in 2014, to now, Poetry on Buses brings those stories to life. We shine a light on the many and varied poetic voices of King County, WA. This year brings a new theme, more languages, a team of community partners, and, of course, local poets—one for every day of the year.
In 2016, writers of all ages and experience levels participated in community poetry workshops and submitted their original poetry on this year’s theme: water. It shapes and connects us all, just like the transit systems where you’ll find these poems. Starting April 24th, look for them on buses, light rail, and streetcars as you move around the region in 2017, and explore the full Your Body of Water Collection online.
Team Poetry on Buses
Jourdan KeithPoet Planner
As 2016-2018 Poet Planner, Jourdan Imani Keith articulated the theme “Your Body of Water,” co-hosted a series of 11 community poetry workshops, and provides curatorial oversight for the program.
Jourdan is the founder and director of Urban Wilderness Project. A storyteller in the oral, Griot tradition, she is a VONA, Hedgebrook, and Jack Straw alum, Seattle Poet Populist Emeritus, and Seattle Public Library’s first Naturalist-in-Residence.
Nigist SelfuEthiopian Community
Born and raised in Ethiopia, Nigist is a social worker, journalist, and community activist. She was a well-known journalist in Ethiopia—she moved to Seattle in 2007, starting her own radio show broadcasting in Amharic. In 2016, Nigist helped Poetry on Buses produce two Community Poetry Workshops in Seattle featuring poet Esayas Siweya.
Ranjit KaurPunjabi Community
Ranjit was born and raised in Punjab, India, and now works for Seattle and King County Public Health at the Eastgate Center in Bellevue, where she helps clients manage chronic health issues. In 2016, Ranjit helped Poetry on Buses produce two Community Poetry Workshops at the Khalsa Gurmat Center in Renton featuring poet Dr. Diwan Singh.
Jacque LarrainzarSpanish-Speaking Community
Jacque was born in Mexico City. Since her arrival in Seattle almost 20 years ago, she has lent her expertise in community outreach to many local nonprofits and government agencies. In 2016, Jacque helped Poetry on Buses produce two Community Poetry Workshops, one with Seattle Escribe and writer Maria Victoria at the Seattle Central Library and the other at the Burien Community Center featuring Seattle’s Civic Poet Claudia Castro Luna. She also played with her band, Revolver, at the 2017 Launch Party.
Yuping KwangChinese Community
Yuping was born and raised in Guangdong Province, moving to Seattle in 1995. Now, she provides support services to immigrant families at the Chinese Information and Service Center. In 2016, Yuping helped Poetry on Buses produce two Community Poetry Workshops featuring poet Chenxi Liu, one at the Redmond Senior Center and the other at the Chinese Information Services Center.
Tracy RectorIndigenous Communities
Tracy is the Executive Director and co-founder of Longhouse Media, fostering young Native filmmakers. She is an independent filmmaker herself, and most recently created a documentary called Clearwater. In 2016, Tracy helped Poetry on Buses produce Community Poetry Workshops at Northwest Film Forum and the Cedar River Watershed featuring Nahaan.
Monique FranklinAfrican American Focus
Poet and artist Monique Franklin, also known as Verbal Oasis, hails from Seattle. She is the owner of Inspired Child, an organization providing arts experiences for youth since 2006. In 2016, Monique helped Poetry on Buses produce a “bounce” workshop at Life Enrichment Bookstore featuring Community Poetry Workshops at Northwest Film Forum and the Cedar River Watershed featuring Seattle’s first youth poet laureate, Leija Farr.