Buses and Subways plastered in poetry? Where?!?

Published online this last Saturday, William Logan’s opinion piece in the NY Times “Poetry: Who needs it?” described how we now have “poetry plastered in buses and subway cars like advertising placards.” My first thought was “What subway system is this?” I would like to know because I would go and ride that subway to see it. I can assure you the T in Boston is not plastered in poetry (Update: I stand corrected – see below). The article is short and worth a read, but my eye was really drawn to the illustration that accompanied it – by Jason Logan and called “The Poetic World” – it is funny and poetic all on its own. It reminds me that people are mixing art and poetry to great effect all over – because poetry is a visual and performed art – here are some other recent examples I have found:

PhoToems by Nance Van Winckel – Ms. Van Winckel, a poet and author who has published in the more “traditional” mediums as well,  has two tag lines for this visual work “photograph + poem = PHOTOEMS” and “Welcome to my photo-collage work. I haven’t left poetry. I’m just putting it on walls.” Either way – it’s beautiful visual work.

— Mary Ruefle postcards and erasure books – I stumbled across an article on Numero Cinq called “Moonlit memories of Immature Genius: Mary Ruefle” about these poetry collage postcards that the poet Mary Ruefle had sent the author of the post. They are haunting and beautiful. Ms. Ruefle has also done “erasure books,” which you can check out complete examples of at her website. (Update: you can make your own erasure books with this cool website hosted by Ms. Ruefle’s publisher Wave Books: Erasures)

— Aaron Morgan illustrated this month’s edition of Hoot Literary Postcards (full disclosure: I’m an avid subscriber to Hoot) – and in addition to his other illustrative work (you can see that here) he has a blog where he is illustrating poetry in collaboration with a poet – jbb – called the iiwii project and the tagline describes it best “When extemporized poetry meets improvised art: It Is What It is. Collisions daily, Monday through Friday.”  I look forward to more collisions!

Update: I missed my bus this morning and took the train – and was greeted with this when I boarded the Red Line:


It’s a part of the “Poetry on the T” series hosted by masspoetry.org. It was a moment of “ask and you shall receive” and I am glad to see it (although I would still argue that this does not rise to the level of a subway “plastered in poetry” – but it’s a start!).


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