Words in Motion program gets poetry moving

By DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly

A city bus parked outside the Wood Buffalo Regional Library at last year’s Words in Motion celebration event. In the weeks to come, a panel of judges will be reading and selecting poems for display on buses throughout the city. Photo by DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly

A city bus parked outside the Wood Buffalo Regional Library at last year’s Words in Motion celebration event. In the weeks to come, a panel of judges will be reading and selecting poems for display on buses throughout the city. Photo by DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) is getting ready to move poetic words around the region for the annual Words in Motion program.

Since 2012, the RMWB’s literacy program has published hundreds of submissions from residents of all ages. Receiving an estimated 100 to 150 poems each year, there are 50 selected and displayed on Wood Buffalo Transit buses and the RMWB website.

The program is also highlighted by the RMWB with a collaborated partnership event with the Wood Buffalo Regional Library, where the selected poets are brought together to celebrate their words and National Poetry Month in April.

“Fort McMurray has a reputation as a working town, but the community has an artistic side,” Barry said, in regards to the significance the program has in the city. “The number of arts and cultural groups in the area, and the success of Words in Motion is a testament to that.”

With February 19th deadline quickly approaching, Community Strategies Coordinator of the RMWB and Words in Motion program coordinator Jessica Barry said: the call for submissions has been well received; the panel of judges are getting ready and facilitators are excited to host its celebration event for the fifth year.

“Fort McMurray has a reputation as a working town, but the community has an artistic side,” Barry said, in regards to the significance the program has in the city. “The number of arts and cultural groups in the area, and the success of Words in Motion is a testament to that.”

She describes how the program encourages all residents to express their own stories through poetry: “Everyone in Fort McMurray has a story, an explanation as to why they’re here, and a reason why they’ve decided to stay and call this community their home. I think, when asked, people like to share their stories and experiences.”

The program coincides with World Poetry Day observed on March 21 and National Poetry Month in April.

Last year, Mayor Melissa Blake officially declared National Poetry Month in April and World Poetry Day on March 21 for the region.

“We recognize the cultural importance of language and literacy as the primary meaning of conveying knowledge… we acknowledge that Poetry is amongst the oldest forms of literature and that it aims to express humankind’s greatest hopes, fears, loves and dreams…,” as stated in the official March 17, 2015 proclamation.

“My favourite part is listening to the judges discuss and share their thoughts about the poems because it’s interesting to hear how people interpret the same piece of writing differently,” Barry said.

The Words in Motion judges’ panel will have four community volunteers, including an employee from library.

With most of the submissions locked in, Barry has begun the compilation process and describes the behind-the-scenes portion, as her favourite part of the process.

“My favourite part is listening to the judges discuss and share their thoughts about the poems because it’s interesting to hear how people interpret the same piece of writing differently,” Barry said. “I also really enjoy the celebration event because the authors are all so happy to be there and to have their work being appreciated and to be around likeminded people who genuinely enjoy poetry.”

To view last year’s selection, visit the RMWB’s blog spot page at www.wordsinmotion2015.blogspot.ca. The 2016 selection will be posted closer to the celebration event date, which will be announced in the near future.

The call for submissions ends on Friday, February 19, 2016 with three categories and eligibility for the general public, high school and elementary school students. All languages are welcome and asked to have an English translation provided with the copy. For more information, please contact wordsinmotion@rmwb.ca

– Connect Weekly –