Poetry in Motion

Begun as a public art project in 2019, Poetry in Motion is now an annual program. At its core is the installation of short poems on transit ads in the fall of each year.


Poetry in Motion provides a unique opportunity for transit passengers to look up from their screens; to recognize how they move among their fellow residents and visitors; and to think about how a place becomes exceptional, why local history should be honoured, and what aspirations they have for their region.

Because they are so crucial to our lives, it is easy to overlook how unique transit buses are as public spaces: they are intimate microcosms of their city, accidental gatherings of diverse residents, and paradoxical spaces that both define and transcend the geographic space between communities. For these reasons, the daily bus ride is a singular opportunity to surprise, inspire, and provoke reflection through encounters with public poetry.

In 2021, we are adding a new dimension to Poetry in Motion. We are partnering with Meals on Wheels programs in Halifax, Dartmouth, and Sackville/Bedford to deliver a poem a week for 10 weeks this fall. 

How does the program work?

A themed call for submissions is released in spring, with entries accepted for approximately one month. The final selection of ten poems is determined by a jury of Nova Scotia poets and a representative of Halifax Public Libraries. Selected poets are announced in July and invited to read their work at a Poetry in Motion launch event in October.

Eligible poets are residents of Nova Scotia who are 16 years of age or older. Eligible poems are original creations of 10 lines or fewer (including stanza breaks) that are suitable for a general audience of all ages. Each poet can submit a single poem or excerpt for consideration. Entries may be previously published. There is no entry fee.

Authors of the selected poems each receive a $250 honorarium.

Poetry in Motion is at its best when it includes poets of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and Nova Scotian regions. For this reason, submissions are not anonymized.

Investors and Partners

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia is grateful to Arts Nova Scotia for their investment in Poetry in Motion. We are also grateful to Halifax Public Libraries, the Halifax Regional Municipality, Halifax Meals on Wheels, Dartmouth Meals on Wheels, and Sackville-Bedford Meals on Wheels for their partnership in realizing the 2021 Poetry in Motion program.

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Recommended Experience Levels

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) recommends that each workshop’s participants share a level or range of writing / publication experience. This is to ensure each participant gets value from the workshop⁠ and is presented with information, strategies, and skills that suit their current writing priorities.

To this end, the “Recommended experience level” section of each workshop description refers to the following definitions developed by WFNS:

  • New writers: those who have been writing creatively for less than two years and/or have not yet been published in any form.
  • Emerging writers: those who have been writing creatively for less than five years and/or have some short publications (poems, stories, or essays) in literary magazines, journals, or anthologies.
  • Established writers/authors: those with numerous publications in magazines, journals, or anthologies and/or a full-length book publication.
  • Professional authors: those with two or more full-length book publications.

For “intensive” and “masterclass” workshops, which provide more opportunities for peer-to-peer (that is, participant-to-participant) feedback, the recommended experience level should be followed.

For all other workshops, the recommended experience level is just that—a recommendation—and we encourage potential participants to follow their own judgment when registering.

If you’re uncertain of your experience level with regard to any particular workshop, please feel free to contact us at communications@writers.ns.ca