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Students’ Poetry Takes a Ride on The Rapid

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In honor of National Poetry Month, we have partnered with the Grand Rapids Poet Laureate L.S. Klatt to showcase and celebrate poetry written by area elementary and middle school students.

Students from five after school programs worked with Klatt to write haiku based on the history of transportation in Grand Rapids. The students’ poetry was inspired by archival photographs provided by the Grand Rapids Public Library and the Grand Rapids Historical Society. Klatt conducted the poetry workshops in fall and winter on 2015 at the Creative Youth Center, the Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities Cook Center, Living Stones Academy, The Potter’s House and Camp Blodgett Club at Alpine Elementary. The haiku from six students were chosen to represent the project, then paired with the historical photos. They are now being displayed on the inside of 150 Rapid buses, two on each bus.Lew Klatt speaks to crowd at poetry event.

While other cities have featured the poetry of nationally or regionally recognized poets on public transportation—most notably, New York’s Poetry In Motion program in the subways—the Grand Poems in Rapid Transit project focuses on education and honors the creative work of local school children.

“We are excited to be a part of this program. It’s a great way for The Rapid to support arts education for the young people in our community and to provide our riders with something to brighten their day during the ride,” said Jennifer Kalczuk External Relations Manager for The Rapid.

The Grand Rapids Poet Laureate is an ambassador for poetry, creating programs and projects to foster the writing and reading of poetry in the greater metropolitan area. Calvin College professor L.S. Klatt is the current Poet Laureate. His three-year term started in April 2014.The Poet Laureate program has been run by the Grand Rapids Public Library since 2012 and is funded by an endowment from the Dyer Ives Foundation. The Grand Rapids Public Library connects people to the transforming power of knowledge.

Students view their haiku.

Have you noticed the haiku on board your bus yet?

Written by The Rapid

The Rapid (Interurban Transit Partnership) is the authority that provides a variety of public transportation services for the Grand Rapids metro area and beyond. It is organized and operates under Michigan Public Act 196 of 1986.