'Poetry in Motion' Comes to Grand Central for April 7 Poetry Month Fete

Poets will craft customized poems for the public at Grand Central on April 7.
Poets will craft customized poems for the public at Grand Central on April 7.

Roses are red. 
Violets are blue.
If you like poetry more sophisticated than this, 
then we've got an event for you!

On Friday, April 7, MTA Arts & Design and the Poetry Society of America (PSA) are kicking off National Poetry Month with a special celebration, "Poetry in Motion," at Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall. 

This free and public event is named after MTA Arts & Design's popular Poetry in Motion program, which brings poetry selections chosen with PSA to MTA customers who take subways and buses. Customers can spot these poetry selections throughout subway cars and buses, printed on large square posters with a graphic background taken from one of MTA's permanent art collection. The program, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017, seeks to inspire customers with a few verses by celebrated poets as diverse as Walt Whitman, Maya Angelou, Seamus Heaney and Billy Collins. 

MTA Arts & Design and PSA want to offer an even more personal level of inspiration at "Poetry in Motion," where the poets will craft original poems for the public, free of charge. On April 7 between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., poets will be stationed at desks throughout Vanderbilt Hall, setting up shop just as The Peanuts' Lucy Van Pelt does with her "The Doctor is In" booth. "Poetry in Motion's" version will be "The Poet is In," which was conceived by former New York State Poet Marie Howe. The public can take a seat opposite a poet, who will craft a customized poem on the spot.

This year's "The Poet is In" is sponsored by the Ford Foundation's Good Neighbors Initiative, which aims to encourage creativity and conversation. Award-winning poets participating in this year's "The Poet is In" include Howe and Frost Medal winner Marilyn Nelson. 

“Poetry is a living art, and it’s thrilling to be a part of a public experience which is also deeply private. What happens between the person who speaks with the poet and what the poet gives in return is magical and transformative. And it happens in Grand Central Terminal: one of the great crossroads of the world,” Howe says.

In addition to "The Poet is In," performers from MTA Arts & Design's music program, Music Under New York, will provide entertainment throughout the day. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the violin and guitar duo The F-Tones will perform. From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Cajun and classical cellist Sean Grissom will perform; and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., accordionist Melissa Elledge will take the stage. The final group of the event, the Irish fiddle and guitar group The Poor Cousins, will serenade passing rush-hour commuters from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Passersby can also get a peek at new artwork by the illustrator Johanna Goodman, whose subway graphics poster for MTA Arts & Design is currently installed at stations throughout the subway system. Her "Subway Muses" poster pays tribute to women and New York's transit system and plays off her ongoing art series "Catalogue of Imaginary Beings," which explores portraiture, collage, magical realism, surrealism and symbolism. 






“Subway Muses” by Johanna Goodman. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design
“Subway Muses” by Johanna Goodman. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design