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New series of Poems on the Underground | 15-Feb-13

Poems on the Underground, Feb 2013    LU 150:London Then and Now  

The first 2013 set of Poems on the Underground, celebrating 150 years of London Underground, has been chosen to reflect London as it was and London as it is now. Six poems reflect typical aspects of London as seen by Londoners and visitors. We also feature the immigrant experience so important to postwar London and to the Tube, in poems by Nii Ayikwei Parkes, a Ghanaian poet now living in London, and the distinguished Jamaican poet Lorna Goodison.

The poems include Wordsworth's description of London in 1805 ("The river proudly bridged"), shown next to a 2012 drawing of Southwark Bridge by David Gentleman, who designed the mural at Charing Cross Tube station;
"Vacillation" by the great Irish poet W.B. Yeats, a moving personal account of the experience of "a solitary man" in wartime London (1915)

"Stations" by the Londoner Connie Bensley, with her typical humour describing modern love on the Northern Line

"Gherkin Music" by the award-winning London poet Jo Shapcott, capturing the iconic shape of the modernist City building in a celebration of architecture, science, poetry, and music

"Barter" by Nii Ayikwei Parkes, a poignant account of a young Ghanaian immigrant longing for human contact, finding his way in a cold London winter

"Bam Chi Chi La La: London, 1969" by Lorna Goodison, describing the dreams of a Jamaican teacher working as a charwoman in the West End. (The title refers to a popular Jamaican children's rhyme)

Poems on the Underground hope Tube travellers will enjoy these poems of London life, snapshots of the great city in all its variety.

Poems on the Underground is supported by TfL/LU, Arts Council England, and the British Council. Poems are selected by writer Judith Chernaik and poets Gerard Benson and Cicely Herbert. Posters are designed by Tom Davidson, and are available from the London Transport Museum and the Poetry Society.

Publication: Poems on the Underground: A New Edition (Particular Books) Published by Penguin Books in 2012
This, and previous editions of Poems on the Underground are available for reference and loan at the Poetry Library.

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