Romanian poem features on London Tube

Romanian Cultural Institute in London, poem by Marin Sorescu, Poems on the Underground, Facebook.
Romanian Cultural Institute in London, poem by Marin Sorescu, Poems on the Underground, Facebook.

His poems were translated in more than 20 countries and he wrote 23 books of poetry, some of which were censored by the communists.

Now, 24 years after his death, Marin Sorescu’s poetry is enjoying one of the biggest audiences of all time: the London underground.

Starting February 10, Sorescu’s 1987 poem “Perseverance” was posted on subway trains in the British capital, as a way of bringing poetry to wider audience.

The poem, which was translated into English by D.J. Enright, was selected to be part of the „Poems on the Underground,”a project started in 1986 by U.S. writer Judith Chernaik.

The poems are posted in Tube carriages and can also be found printed in subway stations. Sorescu is one of six poets featured in February and March.

Two million people travel on the Tube every day.There are now an estimated 160,000 Romanians living in London.

Sorescu, who died in 1996 was a poet, playwright, and novelist. He published his first book of poetry “Alone among Poets” at 28.

His plays have been staged in Romania and abroad including Paris, Zurich, Helsinki, and Copenhagen.

Poems featured in Tube carriages were launched as a way to bring poetry to a wider audience.

The program helps to make journeys more stimulating and inspiring by showcasing a range of poetry in Tube train carriages across London. The poems are selected by Chernaik and poets George Szirtes and Imtiaz Dharker.

Poems on the Underground highlights classical, contemporary and international work, by both famous and relatively unknown poets.

It has inspired similar schemes in other cities, from New York to Shanghai and has proved to be a great way of introducing the public to poetry, with passengers often wanting to read more.

The scheme is supported by TfL, Arts Council England and The British Council.

Poems on the Underground (Penguin, 2015) contains over 200 poems featured on the Tube and is available from the London Transport Museum shop.


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