Monday, June 9, 2008

The End of Poetry in the NYC Subway

Since 1992, the NYC Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been posting poems in subways, but the poems will now be replaced by quotes by famous people. This makes me sad. There's something surprising and beautiful about coming across a great poem in the subway. We're surrounded by famous quotes. We see them on coffee mugs, calendars, posters, paving stones, t-shirts. We hear them on TV and the radio. In one ear/eye, out the other. But how often do we see or hear poetry? I don't live in New York, but I've visited enough times over the last 15 years to see several poems in the subway, and those poems always made a strong impression on me. I will miss them on my future trips to the city.

To read about some of the people affected by the subway poetry over the years, visit the NYT article here. Accroding to the article, the only reason given for the change was this statement from Alicia Martinez, (the transportation authority executive who made the change): “I thought, ‘Why not prose?’ ”

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