Every season, six poems are selected to be displayed in tube carriages across London.
Below is the summer 2013 set of Poems on the Underground, continuing a year-long celebration of the 150th year of London Underground. The poems evoke a broad range of London places and sights, as imagined by poets with close London connections. The earliest poem is William Blake’s vision of Islington and Marylebone, Kentish Town and St Pancras transformed into a new Jerusalem. A 21st-century poem by the Ghanaian-born poet Grace Nichols presents an equally visionary image of one of London’s great peace marches, with ‘a holy multitude pouring / through the gates of Hyde Park.’ Other familiar London scenes include a traffic jam on the Strand; a nostalgic memory of cricket at Lord’s; an old man in Rotherhithe enjoying the breeze from the Thames. The Underground itself is represented in a vivid image of a train approaching the platform– part of a series of love poems by the London-born poet Andrew Waterman.
The six poems will be appearing in 3,600 Tube spaces for eight weeks from early June.
Read past releases of Poems on the Underground here
Poems on the Underground, founded in 1986, is supported by London Underground, Arts Council England and the British Council, which distributes the posters to its offices throughout the world.
Poems are selected by the writer Judith Chernaik and poets Gerard Benson and Cicely Herbert, with posters designed by Tom Davidson. Copies are available from the Poetry Society and London Transport Museum.