Poems on the Underground started life in January 1986 as an experiment by three friends, the writer Judith Chernaik and the poets Cicely Herbert and Gerard Benson. They persuaded London Underground to post a few poems on its trains, to the delight of bemused commuters. London Underground has supported the programme ever since, enabling us to offer poetry old and new, familiar and unfamiliar, to three million daily travellers on London’s Underground system.
After five years on the tube, we returned the poems to the printed page as 100 Poems on the Underground, which quickly became a best-seller. Our latest collection, Poems on the Underground: A New Edition, is now a Penguin Classic. Most recently, we have added free leaflets of poems on special themes, available on station platforms. Tube displays and free leaflets have been made possible by the generous support of London Underground, Arts Council England and The British Council, which has sent our posters to its offices abroad, inspiring similar programmes in cities across the world. Posters are designed by Tom Davidson, and are usually available from The Poetry Society and London Transport Museum.
We’re delighted to be back on the Tube with a new set of Poems 3 times a year.
As we mark 35 years of Poems on the Underground, we are delighted to offer tube travellers a new set of poems to celebrate the enduring value of our closest human relationships and remind us of the glory and fragility of the natural world.
You can see our new set of poems for Autumn 2022 here
You can see our new set of poems for Summer 2022 here
You can see our new set of poems for Spring 2022 here
You can see our new set of poems for Autumn 2021 here
You can see our new set of poems for Summer 2021 here
You can see our new set of poems for February 2021 here
You can see our new set of poems from November 2020 here
You can see our new set of Poems from August 2020 here
You can download a copy of our Black History Month leaflet here
You can download a copy of the London Poems on the Underground Leaflet here
You can download a copy of our World Poems Leaflet here
You can download a copy of our Irish Poems leaflet here
You can download a copy of our War Poems on the Underground leaflet here
We now have over 500 poems on our website, and will be adding more each month. You can find all of the poems that are now on our website listed in the index here
We are pleased to be awarded an Arts Council NPO grant for 2023-2026
We are grateful for renewed support from Arts Council England and for major support from Transport for London and The British Council, enabling us continue to offer poems of the highest quality and range to a mass audience.
The Editors: Judith Chernaik, Imtiaz Dharker, George Szirtes