Poems on the Underground 

One of six posters - view the full set

The autumn 2014 set of Poems on the Underground commemorates the centenary of the First World War. War Poems on the Underground are on display in London Underground cars from 6 October 2014 through November, with additional posters on London Overground and selected station sites in a major expansion of our programme, supported by TfL. Poems by English, French, Italian and Austrian poets, written during the heat of war service, stress themes of brotherhood and reconciliation, and the ways in which “we said goodbye to a whole epoch” (Apollinaire).

The poems and poets are Edward Thomas, ‘In Memoriam (Easter 1915)’; Ivor Gurney, ‘Bach and the Sentry’; Siegfried Sassoon, ‘The General’; Giuseppe Ungaretti, ‘Fratelli/Brothers’, translated by Patrick Creagh; Georg Trakl, ‘Im Osten / In the East’, a new translation by David Constantine; and Guillaume Apollinaire, ‘La Petite Auto/The Little Car’, translated by the Editors.

In addition to the Tube display, a booklet of War Poems on the Underground, 1914-1918 is available free to the public at tube stations. The poems, all featured on the Tube, address the reality of the First World War, including poems by Isaac Rosenberg and Wilfred Owen (both killed in action) as well as the poets listed above. Anger against political and military leaders fuels poems by the Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva and Rudyard Kipling, whose son died at Loos in 1915, aged 18. The collection reaches beyond 1918 in poems by Michael Longley, Kathleen Raine, the Hungarian poet George Szirtes (“My century is a sad one of collapses”) and The Long War by Laurie Lee.

Order the poster set or order individual poems.

 

About 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.

You can order individual posters or sets through our shop; we ask for a £3 for an individual poster or £9.99 for a set in order to cover the storage, handling, postage and packing costs.

Poems are selected by Judith Chernaik, Cicely Herbert and Imtiaz Dharker, who has joined the project this year. The project is generously supported by TfL, Arts Council England and the British Council. Posters, designed by Tom Davidson, are available from the Poetry Society and London Transport Museum. Poems on the Underground: A New Edition (Penguin 2012) will be published in paperback in March 2015.

 

Forthcoming Event

Thursday 13 November 2014, 6.30-8.15 pm at Europe House, 32 Smith Square, SW1

‘The Pity of War’, presented by Poems on the Underground with readers Imtiaz Dharker and Cicely Herbert and guest speaker Bruce Kent. The Apollo Chamber Players perform music by Ivor Gurney and other composers strongly affected by the First World War. 

Admission free but booking strongly advised:  agnieszka.piela [at] ec.europa.eu