Bus Stop Poetry

by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS

Bus stops are not very interesting places. Because of that, most of us spend our time at bus stops with our heads buried in a book, looking down at our phones, or staring off into the distance to avoid contact with strangers. But this Fall, Olympia’s inaugural poet laureate, Amy Solomon-Minarchi, will do her best to change that with Poetry at the Bus Stop, a project that aims to install poems at bus stops and potentially on buses in Olympia.

“I am always on the lookout now for opportunities and places to make the written word visible,” said Solomon-Minarchi. “I am open and aware to the fact that a well-placed act of art has lasting power and provides viewers with a sense of purpose to create, or maybe to do something they hadn’t thought of before.” Working alongside the City of Olympia and Intercity Transit, Solomon-Minarchi released a call for submissions for Poetry at the Bus Stop earlier this month. She’s accepting submissions of up to three poems that “carry a message or image of positivity and vision of our best community.” The submission window will remain open until September 8, after which 12 poems will be chosen for installation at local bus stops.

Since taking up the mantle of poet laureate last January, Solomon-Minarchi has been working nonstop to encourage the Olympia community to create and engage with poetry. Over the last eight months, she’s held four poetry and teen-writing workshops, installed community-centered poetry in public spaces and performed at Olympia People’s Mic and the Olympia Poetry Grand Slam. She also has a forthcoming book of poetry entitled The Grunt Wife’s Memory Book.

“I’ve been blown away by Amy Solomon-Minarchi,” said Angel Nava, an arts program specialist with the City of Olympia’s Parks Arts and Recreation. “Her ideas are inspiring and she has a core mission to connect people to poetry. She has a certain way of engaging people creatively in their everyday lives, which is what I think Poetry at the Bus Stop is all about.”

What: Poetry at the Bus Stop

When: poems selected September 8

Where: Olympia bus stops

How much: free

Learn more: 360-709-2678 | call for submissions

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