This new Poems on the Underground book contains verses that have been displayed in Tube carriages over the years, from the start of the programme in 1986 to the poems passengers can see on the Underground system today.
For the first time this latest edition has been arranged under headings that explore themes of human existence such as love, seasons, war, exile and loss, music and the natural world.
The six poems currently on show in Tube carriages also feature in this new book and include: Two Fragments by Sappho, translated by Cicely Herbert in which the ancient Greek poet speaks directly to women today; A song for England, by Andrew Salkey which is a heartfelt and humorous tribute by a Caribbean poet to his adoptive land; A Dead Statesman, by Rudyard Kipling, from ‘Epitaphs of the War 1914-1918’ which is a searing poem by a poet who lost his son to the War, chosen to commemorate Armistice Day; The Emigrant Irish, by Eavan Boland, a clear-eyed poem about the Irish famine by one of Ireland’s foremost poets; Concerto for Double Bass, by John Fuller, a delightful image of one of the essential but neglected instruments of every orchestra; Swallows, by Owen Sheers, a beautifully observed image of a familiar autumnal sight, by a young award-winning Welsh writer of poems, plays and TV and radio scripts
Judith Chernaik, writer and editor and founder of Poems on the Underground, said: “Next year will be the Tube’s 150th anniversary and it’s wonderful to be able to mark these celebrations with this beautiful new hardback Poems on the Underground book.
“I have been choosing poems for the Tube for 26 years and I feel honoured to be part of the Underground’s rich cultural heritage which now spans 150 years.”
London Underground is planning an enormous range of events and activities which will celebrate the fascinating history of the world’s first underground railway as well as looking at the vital role the Tube will continue to play in the London and UK economy.
In addition to the Poems on the Underground book, a new lavishly illustrated book called Underground – How the Tube shaped London 1863 to 2013 published by Penguin has been launched to celebrate the 150th anniversary of London Underground.
Further collections of Poems on the Underground will be displayed in 2013 to mark this special birthday.