Poems on the Underground
Launched in 1986, the Poems on the Underground programme was the idea of American writer Judith Chernaik whose aim was to bring poetry to a wider audience. Together with poets Gerard Benson and Cicely Herbert, Chernaik selects poems for inclusion in the programme, and London Underground donates space on its fleet of trains.
Sponsors for Poems on the Underground, apart from London Underground itself which assists with artwork and production, include the Arts Council of England, the British Council, London Arts and the Poetry Society. Some themed projects have also been sponsored by the British Tourist Authority and the Commonwealth Institute.
A series of different poems are displayed at any given time, ranging from classical and historical works by famous names such as Blake, Shakespeare and Shelley, to contemporary and emerging poets from around the world. The displayed works are generally changed three times a year and have proved extremely popular with the travelling public.
London Transport began publishing anthologies of Poems on the Underground and these have currently reached their tenth edition.