Moving Words 2024 Poetry Contest Winners

Published on April 02, 2024

Moving Words

Nine poets from around the Beltway have been selected for the 25th Annual MOVING  WORDS POETRY COMPETITION that takes their poetry on the go. The nine winning poems, plus one by Arlington’s Poet Laureate, are displayed aboard ARTbuses traversing Arlington County from March through September, 2024.

Poets were invited to submit poems of ten lines or less, which were selected by juror Courtney LeBlanc, Arlington’s Poet Laureate. The winning poems are printed on colorful placards and displayed prominently, enlivening the ride for thousands of commuters. Each winner will also receive a $250 honorarium. Winning poems also are posted on and will be archived on the Arlington County website.

Eligible poets will live within the D.C. Metro transit area (the Northern Virginia counties Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun, and the cities Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church; the District of Columbia; and the Maryland counties Montgomery and Prince George's),and must be over 18 years old. There is no fee to enter.

The Moving Words Program was launched in 1999 during National Poetry Month. It was conceived by award-winning poet and literary historian Kim Roberts (founder of Beltway Poetry Quarterly), the then Literary Program Coordinator for Arlington Cultural Affairs. The goal of Moving Words is to promote the work of local writers and make poetry a part of daily life for commuters in Northern Virginia. Originally held in partnership with Metro, Moving Words launched a new partnership with ART in 2016. This move complements another ongoing Arlington Arts’ program, Art on the ART Bus, which places original artwork by area artists inside select ART Buses.


  • Appreciation Uninterrupted by Ife Al-Din (Washington, DC)
  • AM Chorus by Sidnitra Bates (District Heights, MD)
  • Do Me A Favor by Angie Blake-Moore (Alexandria, VA)
  • Ordinary Miracles by Jessica Browne-White (Arlington, VA)
  • Practice by Marc Drexler (Gaithersburg, MD)
  • I pray often by Michaela Gooding (Arlington, VA)
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Tasting Antidepressants by Jennifer Koiter (Washington, DC)
  • Songs Unsung by Rebecca Leet (Arlington, VA)
  • 2 HAIKU by Susan Russo (Arlington, VA)
  • A Month After My Dad Died, I Dream of Him Courtney LeBlancPoet Laureate, Arlington, VA

We also note that just now ending their run aboard the ARTbuses are the winners of the annual Moving Words competition for youth poets. A separate showcase designed for Arlington Public School students, the Student competition is a partnership between Arlington Cultural Affairs and the Arlington Public Schools Humanities Project’s Pick a Poet project, with support from Arlington Transit.

About Juror Courtney LeBlanc:

Courtney LeBlanc is author of the full-length collections Her Whole Bright Life, winner of the Jack McCarthy Book Prize, Exquisite Bloody, Beating Heart, and Beautiful & Full of Monsters. She is the Arlington Poet Laureate, a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellow, and the founder and editor-in-chief of Riot in Your Throat, an independent poetry. She loves nail polish, tattoos, and a soy latte each morning.          

About Arlington Cultural Affairs
Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development, delivers public activities and programs as Arlington Arts. The division’s mission is to create, support, and promote the arts, connecting artists and community to reflect the diversity of Arlington. Cultural Affairs provides material support to artists and arts organizations in the form of grants, facilities and theater technology; integrates award-winning public art into the County’s built environment; and presents high-quality performing, literary, visual and new media programs across the County.