Saturday, June 14, 2008

If Poetry, Why Not Prose? Poetry in Motion Gives Way to Other Forms

An article in the New York Times on June 7 pushed me into writing my first e-mail to one of the paper's reporters and another to the MTA, the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Short version of the newspaper's announcement: The trains, subways, and buses of New York are about to have a LOT less poetry on them, because an MTA official had the thought, "Why not prose?"

This lightbulb question took place after a stunning number of people had written to the MTA to say how important its Poetry in Motion was -- how the poems were memorized, or acted as triggers for better life, or woke people up to what poetry could offer to them.

I hope others are also protesting this change. Hey, I love prose in its place -- I read nearly as many mysteries as my husband Dave, who is the mystery pro in Kingdom Books -- but I don't memorize it, I don't sing it, and I don't quote it in times of stress, change, or passion.

And that's "Why not prose?" answered.

Here's a list of what's ahead in comparison to what Poetry in Motion has already offered. Be advised: There will be only one poem a year on the subways soon. Or tehre could even be ... gulp ... none.

Each year the MTA and the Poetry Society select poems and post them on New York City's subways and buses.

The following poems are appearing in the series in 2008:

* Quarrel by Grace Paley
* From "In My Craft or Sullen Art" by Dylan Thomas

The following poems appeared in the series in 2007:

* A Little Tooth by Thomas Lux
* Wilderness by Lorine Niedecker
* From O Tell me the truth about Love by W.H. Auden
* From Sailing to Byzantium by William Butler Yeats
* "Tell All The Truth" by Emily Dickinson
* To you by Walt Whitman
* "If there is something to desire" by Verea Pavlova
* "Men say they know many things" by H.D. Thoreau

The following poems appeared in the series in 2006:

* "Utterance" by W.S. Merwin
* From Chanson d’Automne by Paul Verlaine
* "Those Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden
* "The Blue Boat" by Kathleen Jamie
* From Othello (Act III, Scene iii, 167-182) by William Shakespeare
* Out Beyond Ideas of Wrongdoing and Rightdoing by Jelaluddin Rumi

The following poems appeared in the series in 2005:

* From Le Monocle de Mon Oncle by Wallace Stevens (excerpt)
* "Communication" by Alicia Partnoy
* From Macbeth Act V, scene v by William Shakespeare (excerpt)
* "Return" by Robert Creeley
* "A Broken Appointment" by Thomas Hardy
* "Old Men" by Ogden Nash

1 comment:

fairest said...

Thanks for the memories! I can remember being blind drunk on the M15 bus reciting that Verlaine poem to a victim of von Recklinghausen's. I guess that was in 2006 but it seems like long, long ago.