MTA’s Fulton Center to Host On-Call Poets on Thursday, April 23

Folks traveling through Fulton Center can soon catch more than a train...they can catch an earful of poetry. On Thursday, April 23, MTA Arts & Design and the Poetry Society of America will set up poetry booths for the public at the downtown transit hub. The event, Poetry in Motion: The Poet Is In, celebrates National Poetry Month with more than a score of poets writing poems on the spot for anyone who wants one. The concept was inspired by the booth where Lucy van Pelt from the Peanuts comic strip gave advice.

Among the more than 20 poets who will write poems will be New York State Poet Laureate Marie Howe, Pulitzer Prize-winner Sharon Olds, and Bob Holman, founder of the Bowery Poetry Club. All poets will be accompanied by musicians from the MTA’s Music Under New York program, who will perform throughout the day-long event.

The celebration is free and open to the public and takes place in the new Fulton Center in Lower Manhattan, at Broadway and Fulton Street, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event was inspired by Marie Howe, Arts & Design’s de facto Poet in Residence, who is dedicated to bringing poetry to everyone in the state of New York.

“MTA Arts & Design is excited to bring the Poetry in Motion® program to Fulton Center this April. On April 23rd, we celebrate poetry and music inside the newly open transit and retail hub. Since our re-launch of this beloved Poetry in Motion program in 2012, millions of riders have discovered poetry in subway cars and buses. We hope this event gives the riders and visitors alike the firsthand experience to interact with award-winning poets and walk away with a special memory and a personalized poem in their hand” said Sandra Bloodworth, Director, MTA Arts & Design.

“The Poetry Society of America is committed to placing poetry at the crossroads of American life, and the new Fulton Street Station is an ideal arena for fulfilling this mission,” said Alice Quinn, Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America. “The PSA is honored to collaborate with MTA Arts & Design and New York State’s Poet Laureate Marie Howe and all the other marvelous artists and poets who will contribute to this exuberant feast of literary and artistic offerings. Assembling the poets for this festive day has been a joy. Come one, come all to Fulton Center on April 23, 2015!”

Three soloists and one duo will accompany the poets. Each performance is scheduled to last two hours, at the times noted below.

  •  11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Luellen Abdoo, violinist
  •  1-3 p.m. Shogo Kubo, guitarist
  •  3-5 p.m. Robert Anderson Jazz Duo, bass & saxophone
  •  5-7 p.m. Salieu Suso, kora

For a full schedule of events, please consult www.mta.info/art or www.poetrysociety.org/events

The event will feature artwork by illustrator Frank Viva, who created Sightseeing MTA, one of three works of art currently on display inside subway cars and in thousands of buses. Sample images are attached, and high-resolution versions are available upon request. The New York Transit Museum Store will be on hand selling poetry-related merchandise, including copies of Viva’s subway art card.

About MTA Arts & Design

MTA Arts & Design encourages the use of mass transit in the metropolitan New York area by providing visual and performing arts in the transit environment. The permanent art program is one of the largest and most diverse collections of public art in the world, with over 300 commissioned works by world famous, mid-career and emerging artists. MTA Arts & Design produces award-winning graphic art, photography installations, digital art and musical performances through Music Under New York where live music is heard throughout the MTA transit system in more than 7,500 performances annually. In 2012, Arts for Transit relaunched the Poetry in Motion program with the Poetry Society of America. For more information, please visit www.mta.info/art.

About the Poetry Society of America

The Poetry Society of America, the nation’s oldest poetry organization, was founded in 1910. Its mission is to build a larger and more diverse audience for poetry, to encourage a deeper appreciation of the vitality and breadth of poetry in the cultural conversation, and to place poetry at the crossroads of American life. For more information, please visit www.poetrysociety.org.

About New York State Poet Marie Howe

Marie Howe’s most recent book, The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (W. W. Norton, 2009) was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her other collections of poetry include What the Living Do (W.W. Norton, 1998) and The Good Thief (Persea, 1988), which was selected by Margaret Atwood for the 1987 National Poetry Series. Her other awards include grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Bunting Institute, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has taught at Tufts University and Dartmouth College, among others. Currently she teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. She has served as New York State Poet Laureate since 2012.

About Music Under New York

Since 1985, MTA Arts & Design has managed the Music Under New York (MUSIC) program presenting quality music to the commuting public. At present, more than 350 soloists and groups participate in Music Under New York providing over 7,500 annual performances at 30 locations throughout the transit system. Classical violinists, Cajun cellists, jazz ensembles, bluesmen, Latin guitarists, opera and folk singers are just a few of the performers in the subway and train stations contributing to the music culture of New York City.