National Poetry Month Blooms in Alexandria

National Poetry Month Blooms in Alexandria

Poetry Conversations


Wendi R. Kaplan

“By making us stop for a moment, poetry gives us an opportunity to think about ourselves as human beings on this planet and what we mean to each other.” — Rita Dove (U.S. Poet Laureate 1993-1995)

Alexandria is a town that appreciates the arts. In April we celebrate National Poetry Month with readings and chalk poetry on the sidewalks and poetry fences and gardens. Like the tulips and daffodils, poetry is blooming everywhere.

For four years the Alexandria Transit Company (DASH) is showcasing poetry on their buses and trolleys. This year the poems are 30 words or less. They graciously include the current Poet Laureate’s poem, so here is mine:

We Are All

We are all




Look around

this bus—

you can see

yourself in every eye,

every heart.

Each journey

calls for courage.

The six winners of the DASHING Words In Motion poetry contest are below:

Busy and Smart

Busy and smart -

You’ve learned the art

of traveling the DASH bus way.

Always in motion


with great devotion

DASH takes you to work and play.

— Susan Behnke

Alexandria’s Pachyderms

They lumber like elephants

Through the streets,

Swaying side to side;

Buses faster than one would think

Given their heft and size.

— Michelle Berberet

In the Comfort of a Bus

I'm not complaining

'Though it's raining,

I'm not kicking up a fuss.

I'm just smiling,

'cause I'm riding

in the comfort of a bus.

— F. Jane Cotton


When we move together,

We resist the inertia that would keep us stalled,

Looking backwards to the past.

When we move forward,

We advance to our better selves.

— Teddie Dyson


Boat moves slowly down the river,

Plane swoops low across the sky,

Buses, trolleys, cars go by, as we

Sit still amongst them, you and I.

— Betty Jo Middleton

The Start Stop

Stand in wait,

enter, nod, sit, settle, breathe.

Move by and among


with freedom

to drift, to dream,

to wander or careen

toward the stop

where you start again.

— Bridget Gorman Wendling

You might also want to attend some of the poetry readings that the Alexandria Office of the Arts is sponsoring. You are most welcome to come and listen or share some of your own poetry or poetry that touches you.

“Poetry Month Reading”

Friday, April 21, 6-8 p.m., Program begins at 7 p.m.

Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron St.

Wendi R. Kaplan, Poet Laureate, City of Alexandria, invites you to read a favorite poem. The “DASHing Words in Motion” Poets will also read their winning poetry that is displayed on the DASH buses and Trolleys.

“Generating Hope,” in honor of National Poem in Your Pocket Day

Thursday, April 27, 7-8:30 p.m., Program begins at 7:30 p.m.

The Athenaeum, 201 Prince St.

Put a poem in your pocket to share with others; read poetry in one of Alexandria’s neighborhood pocket parks; or bring poetry and stories that spark your creative spirit and inspire hope.

“Honoring Our Mothers with Poetry”

Friday, May 12, 6 - 8 p.m., Program begins at 7 p.m.

Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron St.

Read a poem that honors your mother, and don’t forget to bring her to this one of a kind event. Local poets will read poetry that celebrates and honors mothers. The reading is hosted by Wendi R. Kaplan, Poet Laureate, and the Office of the Arts, City of Alexandria.

For additional about the literary and Poet Laureate programs, visit the Office of the Arts’ website at; email the Poet Laureate at; or call Cheryl Anne Colton at 703-746-5565, email,

Happy Poetry Month to all!

You can reach me at

Wendi R. Kaplan is poet laureate of Alexandria.