We have a winner! The 2019 MTD Poem is:

In a Crowded Bus                                                  

Be yourself, somehow: with book, homework, or music;

Talk with people from the other side of any dividing line.

Be visible inside the bus and out: smile, wear yellow.

Be aware: tune in to the people; study the street;

Stand, if you can, for the old or overwhelmed;

Offer your seat—keep the one in the front empty

To honor all those who fought for it, once. 

by Jim Kotowski, Champaign IL

April is National Poetry Month. To celebrate, the CU Poetry Group, in conjunction with the Champaign-Urbana MTD and Martin One Source, is holding a free Poetry Contest open to all Champaign County students and residents. The winning poem will be prominently displayed during the months of April, May, and June, on 90 CU MTD community buses running throughout Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy. The CU MTD averages over one million rides per month, which will offer great exposure to the winning poem. There is no fee to enter this contest.


Poetry Contest Guidelines

·        All poems must be original work of the poet and previously unpublished

·        Poems can be rhyming or non-rhyming in any format

·        Poems will be evaluated on originality and creativity

·        Due to space limitations, poems must fit on an 11X17 poster. There is no line length limit but readability on the poster will be a factor.

·        Content must be suitable for public display

·        English language only

·        Poets of any age can enter

·        Only one poem per entry, one entry per person


How to Enter

·        Submit your entry in an email sent to cupoetry@gmail.com with the subject line MTD Poems

·        If your poem is in a form that requires specific formatting, please attach it as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf. Otherwise, please include it in the body of the email

·        Include your name, age, hometown or school, email address and phone number in the body and in the attachment, if using one

·        Entry deadline is March 18, 2019



·        Winner will be contacted within 5 days of entry deadline

·        Winner’s name and school or hometown may be used in promotional announcements

·        Winner will receive one copy of finished poster

·         Poets retain all copyrights to the submitted poems


Champaign Urbana MTD Poem 2018 Winner

Weekend Dance

On the crowded bus ride home Friday,

a month’s worth of work finished in a week,

I imagine transforming this mass transit

into a dance party: an infectious toe tap starts

the swing of hips, shuffling feet, spins and twists

in the aisle and seats. (No jazz hands, please!)

We’ll dance through the weekend, without

a worry about Monday morning’s commute.

by Jason Lee Brown

CU MTD Poem 2017 Winner

Rainbow Bus

The rush hour bus rumbles

down rain-slicked streets.

Standing room only:

A rainbow of conversations

spans countries, continents.

Language leaps aisles, vaults down steps,

hangs on to every word. Pay attention.

Borders shift at every stop.

by Frank Modica, Urbana IL


CU MTD Poem 2016 Winner

We eight short lines

give you a chance

to look at us

as if you meant to

and smile that smile

(you know the one)

so the person sitting below this poem

will think we’ve shared a secret ;)

by Ann Hart, Mahomet IL


 Read more about the MTD here.