Those travelling by the London Underground recently might have noticed many of the posters are advertising past attractions ‘Coming Soon – April 2020’, or that everything smells exceptionally clean. However, one feature remains just as it ever was – and that’s the Poems on the Underground posters.
A new set of Poems of the Underground posters launched in August, chosen to encourage calm reflection among travellers, to public acclaim. ‘Now the tubes are more bereft of adverts I am loving the poems on the underground that have replaced them. MORE POEMS ON THE UNDERGROUND PLEASE!’ wrote @nathan_s_king on Twitter. ‘I’ve always thought that one of the most civilised things about London is #’ said @math_patten.
The new round of poems prompting this enthusiasm are ‘Time to be slow’ by John O’Donohue, ‘Everything Changes’ by Cicely Herbert, ‘Cordón’ by Laura Chalar, ‘Note’ by Leanne O’Sullivan, ‘London Fields’ by Michael Rosen, and ‘And if I speak of Paradise’ by Roger Robinson.
Poems on the Underground have partnered with The Poetry Society in this succesful art project that has been offering poetry to London’s tube travellers for over thirty years. Poems are selected by Judith Chernaik, Imtiaz Dharker, and George Szirtes. The posters are designed by Tom Davidson, and the project is generously supported by London Underground (TfL), Arts Council England and the British Council. You can visit the Poems on the Underground website here.
Copies of the posters are currently available for free (plus postage & packaging) from The Poetry Society – you can read more about Poems on the Underground and browse the back issues of posters available here.
2 September 2020
Update: 15 September 2020
Poems on the Underground: a London-wide scheme attracting national attention. If you’re a subscriber to The Daily Telegraph, you can read another piece by Claire Allfree about this season’s selection of poems. ‘We had a very strong feeling that the times have been so difficult for everybody in all kinds of ways’ say Judith Chernaik, founder of PotU, in the article. ‘We felt our poems needed to acknowledge the probelm but also offer some hope.’