News Releases - < 2000
Poetry in Motion: Transpoetry Launched in Ottawa-Carleton
For immediate release: Tuesday, November 30, 1999
Late in the day we turned home
fingertips and toes numb to the cold
shaking onto the suface of stove, ice
that snarled in our mitts.
In crazed circles iceballs danced
and spit round the sweltering rings.
We gave in to our bodies
We gave in to our perfect fatigue
We sank to the floor on spread newspapers
tugging the boots from each other’s feet.
- First Snow, by Frances Itani
Ottawa-Carleton - Transit riders will soon discover that reading poetry can be a moving experience.
Starting today, the more than 800 OC Transpo buses which serve the Ottawa-Carleton region will feature the work of 19 area poets, thanks to Transpoetry, a project jointly sponsored by the Region of Ottawa-Carleton and the Canada Council for the Arts.
The purpose of the project is to showcase the work of English and French language poets living in or near the Ottawa region, while at the same time making riding on an OC Transpo bus even more enjoyable for riders. Ottawa-Carleton is the fifth Canadian municipality, after Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, to have a poetry-in-transit project. Similar projects have been launched in such international cities as New York, Paris and Dublin.
The 24 poems, which include the works of such nationally-acclaimed local poets as Frances Itani, Rob Mclennan, John Barton, Guy Jean and André Duhaime were selected on the basis of their literary excellence by a Poetry Committee representing local poets, transit riders and Regional staff. A total of 134 poems by 49 area poets were submitted to the committee.
At least two poems will appear on each OC Transpo bus. It is estimated that a quarter of a million riders will have an opportunity to view the poems each day, making this the largest poetry publishing project in the region’s history. The poems can also be found on the Region of Ottawa-Carleton web site at www.rmoc.on.ca/arts.
"One of the many strengths of our community is its cultural background," said Regional Chair Bob Chiarelli. "A number of poets have chosen Ottawa-Carleton as home and have contributed to making this community a renowned artistic region. I am pleased that we are able to give back to the poetry community in this fashion."
Regional Councillor Al Loney, Chair of the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Transit Commission added, "People who venture through Ottawa-Carleton will find one common thread everywhere, OC Transpo buses. Our transit service offers the perfect canvas to showcase the collective works of our poets."
"This project reflects the Canada Council’s mandate and objectives in a very concrete way," said Canada Council Chairman Jean-Louis Roux. "Not only does it support and highlight the excellent work of our poets, it also makes that work accessible and enjoyable for a large number of people."
The Canada Council for the Arts, which contributed $20,000 to the project, is a federal agency whose mandate is "to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts."
For Further Information:
Region of Ottawa-Carleton,
Information and Public Affairs, (613) 560-1337
The list of poets and selection committee members is below.
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Poets whose work will appear on OC Transpo buses
Ronnie R. Brown
S. Lesley Buxton
E. Russell Smith
Members of the Selection Committee
Stephanie Bolster (poet)
Michael V. Dennis (poet)
Lynne McCarney (chair, Regional Transit Advisory Committee)
Lucille Doré (OC Transpo)
Patrick Leroux (poet and playwright)
Gilles Lacombe (poet)
Maxine Hill (Region of Ottawa-Carleton)
Lucille Doré (OC Transpo)