Poetry News

Chilean poets aboard the Moscow Metro

By Harriet Staff

Tell me if you've heard this one before: Pablo Neruda, Gabriela Mistral, Vicente Uidobro, Gonsalo Rojas and Nikanor Parra are on a Russian subway car...

Moscow Underground today launches its "Poetry in the Metro" train to accompany the already running "Reading Moscow" (devoted to children's literature) and "Aquarelle" (devoted to visual art). Public transit systems around the world have worked cultural programming into the daily commute, but Moscow's dedicated arts trains are permanent fixtures, with new collections of poetry rotating every six months.

The Poetry train will introduce Metro passengers to the best poets of many countries of the world. The first set of poems is dedicated to the five greatest poets of Chile. It was compiled together with the Chilean Embassy in Moscow and is dedicated to the 200th anniversary of Chile’s independence, marked this year.

The trains serve a dual purpose, helping ease culture into passengers' busy lives and preventing vandalism simply by existing. In an era where a culture's civility can be assessed by whether its citizens tear into art with crowbars, Moscow subway riders appear to have a pretty high batting average.

People live with a very tight schedule, they are short of time for reading, visiting museums and exhibitions. The authors of the project say: “We bring art closer to our passengers." The Metro staff-members mark with satisfaction that there is no vandalism in the “cultural” trains.

Originally Published: November 17th, 2010