Launched in 1992 by the Poetry Society of America and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Poetry in Motion, now known as Arts for Transit, is today one of the most popular public literary programs in American history. This outstanding program places poetry in the transit systems of cities throughout the country, helping to create a national readership for both emerging and established poets.
Since 1992, when it first displayed four poems by Emily Dickinson, Lucille Clifton, W.B. Yeats and Walt Whitman, MTA’s Poetry in Motion/Arts for Transit program has brought more than 200 poems or excerpts before the eyes of millions of subway riders and rail commuters, offering each a moment of timelessness in the busy day.
After a hiatus of four years, from 2008 through 2011, the popular program returned in March of 2012, under the aegis of Arts for Transit. The revived program displays two new poems each quarter, on “car cards” in the New York City subway cars. The poems are chosen in collaboration with the Poetry Society of America. There is artwork accompanying the poems drawn from permanent installations on view in the Arts for Transit program, often based on the sketches provided by the artists in their preparatory designs.
As President of the Poetry Society of America, Binghamton University alum, Molly Peacock, was one of the creators of the Poetry in Motion program; coediting Poetry In Motion: One Hundred Poems From the Subways and Buses. This book of poems is gathered from the placards displayed in the subways and buses in New York City and represents the first hundred poems of the program appearing from October 1992 through August 1997. The selections range from Sappho to Sylvia Plath to the ninth-century Chinese poet Chu Chen Po.
If you would like to read Poetry in Motion: 100 Poems from the Subways and Buses, it can be found in the Bartle Library stacks under PN6101 .P542 1996 or in the Alumni Authors Collection in Special Collections (located on the second floor of the Bartle Library off of the North Reading Room).