The son of the return of Poetry in MotionBy
For nearly two decades, placards of poetry greeted observant straphangers in various subway cars across New York City. While these bright spots of art and literature amidst the drabness of subway advertising proved popular, “Poetry in Motion” met its demise in 2008, and a similar program called “Train of Thought” replaced it. When the MTA rebranded its house ads, “Train of Thought” was axed, and New York’s literati were saddened.
Have hope though because the MTA may be searching for ways to restore poetry to the subway. Michael Grynbaum broke the news yesterday. The authority, he says, “has entered preliminary talks to revive Poetry in Motion.” He writes:
The transportation authority is discussing the matter with the Poetry Society of America, which helped coordinate the original “Poetry in Motion” campaign from its inception in 1992. The series, modeled on a similar program on the London Underground, brought Yeats and Browning into the unusual locale of a gritty subway train, peppering the usual Dr. Zizmor ads with classics of literary verse.
“Walder really loves the poetry; I wouldn’t be surprised to see it come back,” said an official at the transportation authority who is familiar with the plans, referring to the authority’s chairman, Jay H. Walder. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about discussions that were intended to be private.
The Poetry Society is said to be seeking a financial sponsor for the campaign, which would be a prerequisite. Officers at the society declined to comment.
If the poetry makes the subways seem friendlier, I’m all for it. Spotting a verse or two in the trains always brought a smile to my face. Even if the verses aren’t quite as out there as some, the return of “Poetry in Motion” would be welcome indeed.