Poems on the Underground

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 posters 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 100)

The Autumn 2018 set of poems is now live on the tube until mid-December 2018. The poems mark the centenary of the Armistice of November 1918, and also look towards the future – the wars that followed ‘the war to end war’, and the instinct of each new generation to hope for a renewal of life.

A reprint of the free leaflet of War Poems on the Underground, first printed by TfL in 2014 to mark the start of the First World War, is on offer at many London Underground stations. It includes twenty poems on themes of war and peace, drawn from our entire collection, by poets from Britain, America, Russia, France, Italy and Germany.

The leaflet includes “Grass” by the American poet Carl Sandburg:  “Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo. / Shovel them under and let me work — / I am the grass; I cover all.  And pile them high at Gettysburg / And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun. / Shovel them under and let me work. / Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor: / What place is this? / Where are we now?…”  

His thoughts are continued in a poem by the great Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai, now on the tube, “The place where we are right” — …“But doubts and loves / dig up the world / like a mole, a plough. / And a whisper will be heard in the place / where the ruined / house once stood.”

The poems on display in Autumn 2018 are:

Everyone Sang by Siegfried Sassoon (also included in the free leaflet)

Thaw by Edward Thomas, killed on 9 April 1917 during the Battle of Arras

Heroes  by Kathleen Raine

Armistice Day by Charles Causley (stanzas 1,2, 5,6)

The place where we are right by Yehuda Amichai

Inscription for a War by the Australian poet A.D. Hope, with the famous ‘Inscription at Thermopylae’:  Stranger, go tell the Spartans / we died here obedient to their commands

Poems on the Underground is generously supported by Transport for London, Arts Council England and The British Council. Poems are selected by the writer Judith Chernaik and the poets Imtiaz Dharker and George Szirtes. Posters, designed by Tom Davidson, are available from The Poetry Society and London Transport Museum. The published collection, Poems on the Underground (Penguin 2016) is available at all good bookshops.

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