Poetry in Motion May Return to NYC Subways


When the G train is 45 minutes late, then stops midway through your route for 20 minutes because the train in front has just broken down, the last thing you want to do is stare at an MTA-sponsored sign that states, “Improvements don’t just happen.” Which is why we’re all a bit happier to learn, via the New York Times City Room blog, that the MTA is discussing the possible revival of Poetry in Motion. Finally, a decision the MTA can be proud of!

Started in 1992, the original Poetry in Motion campaign featured the likes of Dylan Thomas, Grace Paley, W.H. Auden, Emily Dickinson, Henry David Thoreau, Yeats, and many other esteemed poets. The campaign was a collaborative effort of the MTA and Poetry Society of America, and stopped in 2008.

In its place, the MTA introduced Train of Thought, a sister project of Poetry in Motion that “presents intellectually stimulating selections from great works of literature, philosophy, science and history,” the MTA website stated.

Earlier this year, Train of Thought saw its end, too. And soon after, SubTalk took over — those little memos that have been known to enrage Subway users, especially in a time when the MTA is less than popular.

Now, talks of bringing the Poetry in Motion campaign back to the New York City subways are underway, and the Poetry Society of America is seeking a financial sponsor to make it happen.

The MTA would be wise to pick up on the offer. After all, it’s a little bit harder to lose your cool when Emily Dickinson is telling you, “The truth must dazzle gradually / Or every man be blind.”