Poems on the Underground launches new series by young poets

19 October 2015

A new selection of Poems on the Underground has been launched today, featuring works by young poets. The new series - chosen in partnership with the Poetry Society - explores young people's contemporary lives and draws from a range of themes, from play time to public transport.

The 'Young Poets on the Underground' are Laura Harray (15), Imogen Cassels (19) and Matt Broomfield (21). The poems will be visible on Tube trains across the network for four weeks.

Judith Chernaik, writer, editor and founder of Poems on the Underground, said: `We're delighted to welcome the work of these young poets to the Tube. This set of poems is testament to the creative imagination of young people across the country, and we hope that the four million daily Tube passengers will agree.'

Poems on the Underground, founded in 1986, aims to bring poetry to a mass audience. It helps to make journeys more stimulating and inspiring by showcasing a diverse range of poetry, including classical, contemporary and international poets in Tube train carriages across London. Poems on the Underground is supported by Transport for London, Arts Council England and the British Council.

For more information about Poems on the Underground, please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/poems

Also featured is the final poem in the 2015 series celebrating the 150th anniversary of the great Irish poet W.B. Yeats. Yeats' poem 'An Irish Airman foresees his Death' echoes the ongoing commemorations of the First World War.

The series also includes work by the American poet Theodore Roethke, with a specially commissioned illustration by Clarissa Upchurch, and a repeat of Lorna Goodison's poem 'Bam Chi Chi La La: London 1969' about the dreams of a Jamaican night cleaner in London's West End.

The full list of poems featured is as follows:
  • Laura Harray, 'Circulation'
  • Imogen Cassels, 'Boy'
  • Matt Broomfield, 'playtime'
  • W.B. Yeats, 'An Irish Airman foresees his Death'
  • Theodore Roethke, 'The Sloth'
  • Lorna Goodison, 'Bam Chi Chi La La: London, 1969'
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.

About the poets:

  • Laura Harray, 15, lives in London where she attends St Paul's Girls' School. She has always loved both poetry and prose, and began writing when she was five. Her favourite poets are Simon Armitage and Wilfred Owen. In 2013, she was a top winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award. She is also a Barbican Young Poet and performed at the Poetry International Festival last summer.
  • Imogen Cassels, 19, is a student from Sheffield and is studying English at Cambridge. She was a Foyle Young Poet of the Year in 2012, and her work has since featured in Antiphon, Ink, Sweat & Tears, and Black & BLUE. Her favourite poets include Emily Berry, W.S. Graham, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Peter Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Wallace Stevens, and Dylan Thomas.
  • Matt Broomfield, 21, is studying for an MA in journalism at City University in London. His poetry is inspired by Romanticism, Modernism, William Blake, Adrian Mitchell and hip-hop, especially contemporary battle rap. He is also working on a novel and ultimately hopes to write full-time.