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Media Contact:
Morgan Lyons

June 24, 1998

Moving People, Moving Verse!

DART puts Poetry in Motion on buses and trains

Next time you're riding a DART bus or train, look up! You can recharge your emotional batteries at the oasis of a poem by Carl Sandburg or William Shakespeare -- and it's yours to enjoy absolutely free.

On June 29, DART introduces Poetry in Motion -- a summer pilot of a national program coordinated by the Poetry Society of America (PSA), the oldest poetry organization in the country. Now enjoyed by millions of transit riders daily in cities like New York, Atlanta and Chicago, this public art program has won praise for placing poems in a public venue of wide economic and social diversity.

"Poetry In Motion is a first-rate example of public art that furthers the idea of community. We're hoping the merits of the project will attract corporate or foundation funding so we can expand the program beyond our summer pilot," said DART Vice President of Marketing and Communications Sue Bauman. "The program increases literacy and public awareness of poetry, promotes the values of cultural and aesthetic diversity by featuring bilingual poems and works by ethnically diverse poets, and encourages more people to read and write poetry."

DART's pilot program consists of five different poetry posters -- three placed in the overhead advertising spaces on almost 650 DART buses, and two in the window-level advertising spaces of DART's 40 light rail cars. Additional posters are for sale in DART Stores at the Akard Station or at Elm & Ervay in downtown Dallas. Small posters are $5; large posters are $8.

A distinguished committee of local publishers, editors, educators and booksellers was formed to select the poems. If funding becomes available, the cycle of five poems will change every two months, for a total of 30 poems a year.

Poetry in Motion committee members are Willard Spiegelman, SMU English professor and Southwest Review editor; Teri Aguilar, Bath House Cultural Center director; Patton Howell, president of Poets, Essayists & Novelists (PEN) International; Bob Compton, recently retired Book Page editor of The Dallas Morning News; Billy Bob Hill, Browder Springs Publishing Company president; and Emma Rodgers, owner of Black Images Books. DART project coordinators Martha Heimberg and Leigh Anne Patterson also served on the committee.

Working within practical guidelines recommended by the PSA -- length, appropriateness, proper publisher's credits -- committee members narrowed the stack to the poems transit riders will see. Spiegelman reminded fellow committee members, "How can we make a mistake with 2,000 years of masterpieces to pick from?" The work of award-winning Texas poets -- like Isabel Nathaniel and Tim Seibles -- will also be represented in later posters.

Swieter Design U.S., a multidisciplinary communications firm based in Dallas, contributed the graphics for the first five posters. "We wanted to engage the eye of riders with a bold and colorful design, while also linking the words of the poem to the graphics in a meaningful way," said Principal/Design Director John Swieter.

DART is working with the PSA to obtain corporate sponsors to continue the program. Sponsor logos appear on posters, and they receive credit in DART publications and media releases on the program. Foundations and businesses interested in sponsorship can call (214) 749-3249 to receive more information.

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