Celebrating 30 years of Poems on the Underground

Young Poets on the Underground Matt Broomfield, Hattie Grünewald and Imogen Cassels

Poets and poetry lovers gathered this morning in the disused Aldwych London Underground station to celebrate 30 years of Poems on the Underground and enjoy readings from poets including Imtiaz Dharker,  Moniza Alvi and David Constantine.

Since 1986, poems have been displayed on underground trains throughout the capital, bringing poetry to an audience of millions of London commuters every year. The poems are selected by the programme founder, writer Judith Chernaik, as well as poets George Szirtes and Imtiaz Dharker, and appear three times a year. Similar schemes have been inspired internationally, from New York to Shanghai. 

The celebratory event included readings of the poems which first launched the programme at Aldwych station 30 years ago, including Seamus Heaney’s ‘The Railway Children’, read by the poet’s daughter, Catherine.

Some of the youngest Poets on the Underground, all alumni of The Poetry Society’s Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, were also present for the event, including Hattie Grünewald, Imogen Cassels and Matt Broomfield.

Individual posters, or sets of posters, are available to purchase through The Poetry Society shop.

The scheme is generously supported by TfL, Arts Council England and The British Council.

20 January 2016