30 YEARS OF POEMS ON THE UNDERGROUND
Transport for London (TfL) are marking 30 years of Poems on the Underground.
The celebrated public arts programme has shared over 500 poems with the travelling public since it was established, highlighting classical, contemporary and international work by poets famous and relatively unknown over the years.
Five poems commemorating the 30th year will be circling on the Tube until late February – the same poems which launched the popular programme in 1986.
Thirty years later, Londoners will enjoy the set of poems by Seamus Heaney (later to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature), Guyanese-British poet Grace Nichols, the populist American poet William Carlos Williams, Robert Burns and Percy Bysshe Shelley. These works will reach an audience of over 4.2 million daily Tube customers.
The programme was inspired by the American writer Judith Chernaik, who, along with poets Gerard Benson and Cicely Herbert, thought it would be nice to read a few lines of poetry on the Tube among the advertising.
“London Underground responded enthusiastically and the programme was launched in January 1986” SAID A said a TfL statement.
“As proof of the programme’s success, similar displays of poems on public transport have since taken place in Dublin, New York, Paris, Barcelona, Stockholm, Helsinki, St Petersburg, Shanghai and beyond” the statement adds..
“Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: `Thanks to Poems on the Underground, millions of passengers have been inspired by wonderful poetry peppered across the Tube network over the last 30 years.
“From classical and international greats to contemporary and up and coming bards, the scheme has brought pleasure to Londoners and tourists alike as they go about their daily business.
“This simple idea of bringing poetry to the public is a prime example of why our great city is a world leader in culture and other global cities have followed our lead, adapting the programme for their own transport networks.
“Here’s to the next 30 years of wonderful ballads, verses and rhymes!’
Judith Chernaik, writer, editor and founder of Poems on the Underground, said: `It’s hard to believe that an idea which started as a pleasant way of providing reading matter on Tube journeys has reached its 30th year. The programme continues to thrive because of London Underground’s support and an amazing public response – and above all because of the poets past and present who have enriched our lives in so many ways.’
The full list of poems featured in Tube trains is as follows:
Like a Beacon by Grace Nichols
Up in the Morning Early by Robert Burns
Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley
This Is Just to Say by William Carlos Williams
The Railway Children by Seamus Heaney
All these poems are included in the free leaflet, with additional poems as follows:
William Shakespeare: Sonnet 18
Faustin Charles: Viv
James Berry: Benediction
Moniza Alvi: Arrival 1946
Fleur Adcock: Immigrant
Iain Crichton Smith: The Exiles
Carol Ann Duffy: Prayer
Cicely Herbert: Everything Changes
Anne Stevenson: Ragwort
David Constantine: Coltsfoot and Larches
Kathleen Raine: Dream
Kamau Brathwaite: Naima
Adrian Mitchell: Goodbye
Edward Thomas: In Memoriam (Easter 1915)
Frances Leviston: Industrial
Anon: Western Wind
Robert Graves: Love Without Hope
Philip Larkin: The Trees
W.B. Yeats: Her Anxiety
Robert Herrick: Dreams
Gerard Benson: Riddle
Palladas, translated by Tony Harrison: Loving the Rituals
William Langland: from The Vision of Piers Plowman
Czeslaw Milosz: And Yet the Books
John Keats: Lines from Endymion
Poems on the Underground is supported by TfL, Arts Council England and the British Council. For more information about the programme, visit www.tfl.gov.uk/poems.
Poems are selected by writer Judith Chernaik and poets Imtiaz Dharker and George Szirtes.
Posters, designed by Tom Davidson, are available from the Poetry Society and London Transport Museum.
Poems on the Underground (Penguin 2015), containing over 200 poems featured on the Tube, is available at all good bookshops. (Source: TfL press release)
CRACKDOWN ON ROADWORKS CONGESTION
Proposals to launch a major crackdown on disruption caused by roadworks on local roads and the start of seven-day working are being considered by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
Councils and utility companies could face paying up to £5,000 a day if road works needlessly inconvenience motorists, by being left in place over a weekend, when no one is actually working.
Similar charges could also be levied on those who leave temporary traffic lights in place after work has been completed, again on local A roads.
Workers on ‘A’ roads, which are managed by councils, will either have to work over the weekend – so the project is finished sooner – or lift the works until they resume.
Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said: “I want to deliver better journeys for drivers. “Roadworks can be essential, but that doesn’t mean they should be in place any longer than is absolutely necessary.
“That is why I am looking at proposals to reduce queues and make drivers’ lives easier. “These commonsense measures will be a welcome relief to those trying to get from A to B on our local roads.
“Over Christmas we were able to lift a massive number of roadworks on trunk roads, but this package of measures will benefit drivers all the year round.
“Motorists could benefit from reduced congestion, resulting in faster and more reliable journeys – less time on the roads and more time at work or enjoying their own free time.
“Councils will still need to carry out essential road works, from fixing potholes to re-surfacing, and utility companies will still need to dig up roads to fix broadband connections, water, electricity or gas supplies.
“But the government are looking at ways of changing how works are done on local ‘A’ roads to avoid unnecessary delays.
“This initiative will sit alongside the government’s £15 billion Road investment strategy which is transforming England’s road network, helping create jobs, boost economic growth, and fixing longstanding problems that inconvenience drivers.”
There is an existing penalty of £5,000 per day for roadworks that overrun. (Source: DfT press release)