Poetry in Transit Offers Culture to Bus Riders

Michael Wintermute, A&E Assistant Editor

Poetry in Transit, a program developed by Wilkes University English professor Mischelle Anthony to bring classic and original poetry to bus riders in Luzerne County, will be launched into its fifth year this month.

At 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 30, Poetry in Transit will hold a commemorative event at the new Intermodal Center in Wilkes-Barre to showcase the work of 14 northeast Pennsylvania poets and unveil 15 new placards that are displayed in the spaces traditionally reserved for commercial advertising.

Anthony created Poetry in Transit in 2007 and has coordinated the program with support from Luzerne County Transit Authority (LCTA), Quick Printers, and Lamar Advertising since it began.  She said a similar program, P­­­­oems on the Underground, which began in England in 1986, inspired her.

Poems were solicited for the program in the beginning of April and announcements were made throughout the Wilkes campus, including the graduate creative writing program. Anthony also outsourced to the Kingston-based Paper Kite Press, Diamond City, Weekender and a local youth bookstore.

Entries are selected by Anthony, Jim Warner, assistant director of the graduate creative writing program; King’s College English professors Noreen O’Connor and Jennifer Yonkoski; Ann Brennan, an English instructor at Penn State Wilkes-Barre; and Andrew Petonak,  a journalism faculty member from Luzerne County Community College.

Anthony believes the program has been a success thus far and sees the most feedback from the bus drivers and other LCTA employees, who are pleased with the program and often know which poems are on their bus that month. She also attributes the accomplishment to support from her colleagues.

Anthony said that students, along with anyone else, can send in their work when she puts out the call for poems in campus and local media, likely in February or March.