Poems on the Underground

In the latest selection of poems launched on the London Underground (LU), Poems on the Underground is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the great Irish poet WB Yeats.

From the beginning of March, the poems will be visible on Tube trains across the network. Passengers will have the opportunity to read the first set of poems, which features the final stanza of ‘Sailing to Byzantium’, Yeats’ tribute to the timeless power of imagination; and his popular love poem, ‘He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven’.

The poems will be displayed throughout the year in a wider celebration of Irish poetry. Tube passengers will also be able to read a translation of Antoine Ó Raifteiri’s Irish verses by Lady Gregory; Louis MacNeice’s epigraph to Holes in the Sky (1944); and poems by the distinguished contemporary Irish poets Eavan Boland and Paula Meehan.

A leaflet celebrating Irish poetry including poems by WB Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Patrick Kavanagh and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, in a translation from Irish by Paul Muldoon, will also be free to the public at selected Tube stations later this year.

Judith Chernaik, writer, editor and founder of Poems on the Underground, said: “We’re very pleased to be sharing the delights of Irish poetry past and present with 4 million daily Tube travellers. We hope Londoners will enjoy this very special set of poems, which celebrate the great poet WB Yeats, born 150 years ago.”

Poems on the Underground, founded in 1986, aims to bring poetry to a mass audience. It helps to make journeys more stimulating and even 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, with special support for this series from Yeats2015.

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