Poems on the Underground

Poetry on the Underground book

Poems on the Underground was launched in 1986, following an idea from the American writer Judith Chernaik, to bring poetry to a wider audience.

The programme helps to make journeys more stimulating and inspiring by showcasing a range of poetry in Tube train carriages across London. The poems are selected by Judith Chernaik and poets George Szirtes and Imtiaz Dharker.

Poems on the Underground highlights classical, contemporary and international work, by both famous and relatively unknown poets. It has been a great success and has inspired similar schemes in cities around the world, from New York to Shanghai. It's proved to be a great way of introducing the public to poetry, with passengers often wanting to read more.

The scheme is supported by TfL, Arts Council England and The British Council.

Poems on the Underground (Penguin, 2015) contains over 200 poems featured on the Tube and is available from the London Transport Museum shop and all good bookshops.

Our third set of poems for 2020 is now on trains. These poems are:

Benediction by James Berry

I Sing of Change by Niyi Osundare

I Am Becoming My Mother by Lorna Goodison

Naima for John Coltrane by Kamau Braithwaite

Dew by Kwame Dawes and

BOM Mumbai Airport by Nick Makoha

This far East your thoughts are the edge
of the world. It will not be the last time
that you walk through a door hoping
to return. From your cabin window heat
sweats off the tarmac. Think of this space
like a tree without branches or a wind
that hides itself till you show your face.
You are not alone you have my voice.
There is the wind and there is my face.
The man next to you will wake from
his dream with the sound turned low.

In addition to these six poems, a leaflet produced by Poems on the Underground for Black History Month is available at Zone 1 stations and below.

More information is available on the Poems on the Underground website.

Email any questions to poetry@tfl.gov.uk.