The Poetry Route

Welcome to the Poetry Route, a program that places poetry on ETS (Edmonton Transit System) vehicles.

Student Bus Winners announced!

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the latest round of bus poems for The Poetry Route! This round, we asked junior high and high school students to inspire us, educate us, and tell us what matters to them. We received more than 50 submissions from #yeg’s young poets, in all styles, from lyrical to narrative, formal to experimental. It was tricky for the judges to choose their top four picks, but here they are!

These four winning poems will circulate on ETS buses and LRT cars for a minimum of eight weeks, starting the third week of February. Congratulations to the winners, and a special thanks to every student who submitted their work to this round of The Poetry Route! We hope to read you again soon!

Shorter Longer Days
Leo, Grade 11

“You’re so ugly,
it’s an international war crime!”
shouts my little brother.
The weight of winter hangs over our house,
and we are still in our pyjamas. It’s 3 pm.
I look outside, searching the world
for reason, for a morsel of restraint, for anything,
but I see only leafless trees and melting grey.
“Shut up, ya stupid airbag!”
I reply. And so the day passes.

Leo enjoys ballet dancing, writing, and arguing with his brothers.

——

Winter isn’t made of dead things
Anonymous, Grade 9

Frost clings to dead, bare trees in a tight embrace
Lifeless grass enveloped in pale, glittering snow
Darkness swallows the sky but stars radiate dreams and magic
Fire from lampposts and holiday lights illuminate the path
Lonely sidewalks but homes filled with families together
Ice-crystals tumble on eyelashes and cheeks, melting on skin
Drawing happiness from within
Trudging through snow, leaving footprints—proof I am here
Fear of cold but children giggling as they build snowmen
Hope threaded into icy wind.

I am in the small percentage of people who prefer winter over summer.

——
Confident
Antoinette, Grade 12

My color defines me in many different ways. Number one—
Confidence. Formed from dust, birthed from womb and spine. Black.
My black skin’s beauty, uniqueness is knowing it’s not mine.
Told looking too presentable is a sin, never show your skin.
Taught to defend myself with confidence, permissioned to speak
confident. Seems like laws, regulation, is taking away my woman worth.
Black is a symbol of African roots, scars from war.
I’m 54 states in one, colored in colors of Africa.
I grew up poor, part of a refugee family that survived war
and I’m confident to wear these scars.

I am proud to be African and be confident with who I am.

——

I Wonder
Oliver, Grade 9

I wonder somedays a great many things
Like how many oysters belong to the king
Such as how many snails have more than one knee
Or how far precisely can a blind owl see

I wonder such utterly baffling thoughts
they could probably spoil a green apricot
And even the days when my mind’s most acute
at the end of the day all I’ve got is bad fruit

Oliver is fourteen years old and lives in Devon, Alberta.

About The Poetry Route

The Poetry Route is an Edmonton Poetry Festival project that puts short poems into public transit vehicles. Three times a year we circulate a new flight of four poems in 800 ETS buses. Poems selected for the project, funded primarily by the Edmonton Arts Council, are also viewable online on the ETS website.