Poems on the Underground

Epilogue by Grace Nichols

The Poetry Society and Poems on the Underground join forces to promote one of Britain’s most successful public art projects. As well as being displayed on underground trains throughout the capital, school members of The Poetry Society receive a set of Poems on the Underground posters each time they are released.

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.

Individual posters, or sets of posters, are available through The Poetry Society shop: we ask for £3.50 for an individual poster or £9.99 for a set in order to cover the storage, handling, UK postage and packing costs. If you live overseas, the charge will increase in order to cover additional postage costs.  You can also find them at the London Transport Museum.

A free leaflet of ‘30 Poems for 30 Years’, published in celebration of Poems on the Underground’s
30 years, is available from London Transport Museum and selected tube stations.

Poems on the Underground (Penguin 2015) is available in paperback from all good bookshops.

Poems on the Underground (Set 99)

The summer 2018 set of Poems on the Underground is a celebration of Caribbean poetry, on the occasion of Windrush 70, with poems by James Berry, Andrew Salkey, Jean Binta Breeze, Lorna Goodison, Kwame Dawes and Grace Nichols. The poems reflect on common themes: the dream of awakening in a new world of hope and prosperity; the complex realities of life in the Caribbean and in Britain; the poets’ ties to the old world and the new. Poems will be displayed on London Underground trains in late June-July for four weeks. The poems:

A dream of leavin by James Berry (1924-2017)  James Berry spent his childhood in a village in Jamaica, and came to Britain in 1948, working as a telephonist and publishing several volumes of poetry for adults and children. He edited the first collections of poems by British/West Indian poets, and was a much-loved figure as poet and reader.   

History and Away by Andrew Salkey  (1928-1995)  Andrew Salkey, raised in Jamaica, later attended the University of London and became part of the London community of emerging West Indian writers as author, anthologist and editor. He contributed to the BBC as an interviewer, critic, and author of many radio plays and features.

dreamer by Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze  Brought up by her grandparents in rural Jamaica, Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze studied at the Jamaican School of Drama and is a popular poet and performer both in Jamaica and England, where she has lived since the 1970s. She has released seven poetry books; her most recent collection is The Verandah Poems (Bloodaxe).

Dew by Kwame Dawes  Recognised as one of the Caribbean’s leading writers, Kwame Dawes has written over thirty books. His collection Wheels includes a series of poems paying homage to the people of Haiti after the earthquake of 2010.

I Am Becoming my Mother by Lorna Goodison.  Born in Kingston in 1947, Lorna Goodison is a much-published poet, short story writer, and artist. She taught at the University of Michigan, and now divides her time between Canada and Jamaica, where she has recently been appointed Poet Laureate.

Epilogue by Grace Nichols   Born in Guyana in 1950, Grace Nichols has lived in Britain since 1977.  A prize-winning poet, children’s author and novelist, she is widely recognised for her inspiring readings and the range and charm of her writings.

Poems on the Underground  is supported by TfL, The British Council and Arts Council of England, which has recently awarded us a four-year grant as a National Portfolio Organisation. Poems are selected by the writer Judith Chernaik and poets Imtiaz Dharker and George Szirtes. Posters, designed by Tom Davidson, are available from the Poetry Society, London Transport Museum, the Poetry Library at Royal Festival Hall and The British Library, in connection with their Windrush exhibition, open free to the public through September.

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