Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Commuter 'Poetiquette' Campaign

Tomorrow, October 3,  is National Poetry Day in the United Kingdom but Transport for London isn't limiting itself to a single day's celebration. The transport network has made the entire week the subject of a "Travel Better" campaign, which enlists the help of 13 of London's poets to motivate commuters to adopt more respectful behaviors while traveling on trains and in the Tube.

As part of the initiative, poets are "in residence" at nine subway stations, where they are writing poems on whiteboards or performing the spoken word. Other "pop up" poets are giving surprise lessons in "Poetiquette" at stations all over the City of London. 

The "resident poets" are Amy McAllister, Jacqueline Saphra, Sarah Wardle, Richard Purnell, Sophie Herxheimer, Joolz Sparkes, Deanna Rodger, Amy Acre, and Dan Simpson. The "pop up" performers include some of the poets-in-residence, as well as Raymond Antrobus, Keith Jarrett, and Emma Jones. Here's a quick video introduction to the poets:

Commuter Competition

To promote involvement, Transport for London is encouraging the public to write and submit a short poem about one of the "poetiquettical" tips on the "Travel Better" list. The tips address patience, helpfulness, courtesy, and awareness. The competition deadline is October 18. One winning poem, to be announced November 1, will be made into a poster, which will be illustrated by McBess and placed throughout the transportation network.

What a great project! 

America's Poetry at Work Day

How about it, America? Can we go the Brits one better? Our own national Poetry at Work Day, hosted by Every Day Poems and TweetSpeakPoetry, is January 14, 2014. Here's an official Poetry at Work Day Poster for your cubicle or workplace. (The first 500 are being offered free.)

What are some of your ideas on how we might use poetry to improve or celebrate our workplaces? Put your thinking caps on and share your suggestions in the comments section. I'll be promoting the most creative. Extra points go to those who can write a poem that showcases their ideas.

Travel Better London on Tumblr

Transport for London on FaceBook and Twitter

McBess Website

John Reynolds, "TfL tackles tube etiquette with poetry", The Guardian, September 30, 2013

Poetry at Work Features at TweetSpeakPoetry


Glynn said...

When we were in London recently (and riding the tube), we were pleasantly surprised to find poems in some of the advertising spaces. It's part of a more than decade effort by London Transport, and they've evening published the poems in collections.

Kathleen said...

Oh, I love this "poetiquette" thing! And the whole idea. It reminds me, too, of Poetry in Motion in the USA, short poems up in subway trains and buses!