Polish poems on the Underground

Polish poetry on the Underground, London

Pic: Annie Mole (under CC BY 2.0) who also writes the excellent Going Underground blog


“Poems on the Underground” has been sharing poetry with London’s travelling public since 1986. Poems are displayed in lieu of adverts in Tube carriages. The latest round of posters highlight the work of Polish poets.

The Polish poems featured include “Blacksmith Shop” by Czesław Miłosz, “Nothing Special” by Zbigniew Herbert and “Star” by Adam Zagajewski.

The Polish connection marks the centenary of the birth of Miłosz, an internationally renowned poet.

Judith Chernaik, the founder of Poems on the Underground, said:

“We hope that Londoners and visitors alike will enjoy this latest collection of poems which celebrate one of the greatest Polish poets of our time.”

It’s a pity that the poems only appear in their English translation, rather than being side by side with the Polish original. The Polish would have been interesting to see the structure and “shape” of the original text, even for those of us who don’t speak Polish. Presumably, there just wasn’t space to fit both on. Luckily, a quick search online reveals the Polish text.

As part of the celebrations, an event is planned for tonight (6 June) called Czesław Miłosz: A Centenary Celebration. It starts at 6.30pm at Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London SW1. Admission is free. Guests include Eva Hoffman with readings of the featured Polish poets, and music from Apollo Chamber Players

A free leaflet featuring the poems is also being produced. It will be available from 10 June from five Tube stations: Embankment, Covent Garden, South Kensington, Russell Square and Moorgate.

One Reply to “Polish poems on the Underground”

  1. Poems by 30 contemporary Polish poets will be presented in the subways of eight capital cities in Europe and Asia, including London, Paris, Madrid, Kiev, Beijing and Tokyo. The poets include Szymborska and Dehnela. To promote Polish literature

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