Poetry is the soul's erosion control

Behind the veil of morning fog Mount Hood - by Margaret Chula

Traffic? Construction? I'm not bothered.

Driving through a mess of construction this week, I was thrilled to spot bright orange poetry lining the highway. Orange Lining is a brilliant public art project created especially for the construction of Portland, Oregon's newest light rail line. Part One of the project places lines of poetry on orange silt fencing used at construction sites to control soil erosion.

Poetry is the soul's erosion control - by J. Graham Murtaugh

In a call for short lines of original text (50 characters or less), Orange Lining received 1,100 submissions and chose 102 for use in the project.

"Orange Lining works on multiple levels – visual, conceptual and poetic," writes Peg Butler, the artist-designer who created this project with Buster Simpson. "It offers a creative, collaborative adventure that enables an ephemeral yet utilitarian process to evolve and transform into a permanent element of transit infrastructure. The process is legible and transparent to allow for the serendipity that creates an authentic, well-loved urban streetscape."

Part Two of the project stamps lines of poetry in the site's freshly laid concrete sidewalks.

What we love will save us - by David Oates

By "setting in stone" evocative lines and text, explains artist Buster Simpson, "we are borrowing this utilitarian process, the act of setting impressions in fresh concrete, to mark the expressions of a specific time in history and acknowledge the civic beauty of this grand infrastructure project."


How's your commute? Are you experiencing poetry in public places? Please share!