Words on Streets brought neighbours together around five presentations by five local poets on the streets of Port Moody on 23 June 2023 as a new literary component of the fourth annual The Shuffle art walk. Over 1,500 people, a record for The Shuffle, made their way through Port Moody’s streets to see and to be seen seeing artworks of all kinds and varieties by artists of all stripes and from diverse backgrounds. The people and the art made a community.
As people made their way along St Johns Street they were met with colourful bunting strung between four large tree. As they walked along the street they formed a literal parade with speakers in each of the four trees broadcasting Julie Schmidt’s reading of her poem, Parades March Through My Life. A block and a half towards downtown people were treated to a moment of pause and reflection as they took in a window display of Carmy Stubbs’ poem, In Autumn Glow accompanied by a large format photograph of a colourful autumnal tree. A further few blocks later (and many more visual and musical works away) the faint sound of a a voice reading a poem grew and drew people to three successive lighting poles upon which speakers broadcast one of each of three poems by Pandora Ballard. It was an amazing sight to see people caught unawares sidle up to a pole and give a listen. audio parade The Queens Street Kiosk featured large poster versions of three poems by Coquitlam poet, Karen Hein. Finally, just down the street, Rohini Sunderam poem in translation was reproduced six feet by six feet and wheat-pasted to a wall in one of the busiest areas of The Shuffle.
The enthusiastically positive response to Words on Streets was extremely rewarding for the participating poets. The community appreciated the opportunity to experience literary works presented in a unique way and it has inspired plans for pushing the boundaries for the inclusion of other forms of art and expanding the ideas for new ways to present art in future iterations of the art walk.