Category Archives: Blog Post #1 Poetry in Motion

Poetry in Motion- Here

While riding the subway I remember seeing the poem, “Here” by Gary Snyder, and it is the only Poetry in Motion poem I genuinely related to. I remember reading it as I was on my way to wherever I may have been in a rush to get to and initially thinking to myself to slow down. The poem really made me think about how vast the world is and ask myself that question, “Why are we here” (Line 10). I discovered that the visual art that accompanies the poem is stained glass. The stained glass is in geometric shapes as the artist, Ray King, enjoyed making these geometric structures that played with light. I believe the connection between the poem and the visual is how life can become an illusion just as stained glass may change the color of light when it passes through. This poem was a great choice for subway riders as many of us are not taking the train leisurely, we are in a rush. This constant chaos of running out of time causes many of us to forget about the universe and how big it truly is as well as how small we really are. We constantly have so many distractions and this poem puts everything back into perspective. 

Notes on longing

This poem “Notes on Longing” by Tina Chang is her perspective towards her family. Her poem reveals the significance of family and background. She describes the her feelings of the place where she is, and where she comes from(china). I think she is tributing to her home,”notes of longing ” in my opinion means she is far away from home so by writing this poem she feels more closer.

Poetry in Motion: My words to you by Jean Valentine

The poem I found is called “My words to you” by Jean Valentine and I saw it on the R train on my way to work. The first thing that I noticed after reading this poem was the image right next to it.  This is because they were flowers and the sun above them, and I had thought about why these specific images were chosen before I read the poem. The title of the poem didn’t really indicate anything about anything emotional. After reading it a few times, the theme of the poem to me seemed to be about love. The last line “love not gone anywhere” (line 5) gives me that idea. The speaker also seems to be talking about someone they love very dearly. “My words to you are the stitches in a scarf/ I don’t want to finish” (lines 1-2) mean to me that the speaker is making a conversation seem like an unfinished scarf. The speaker doesn’t want to finish the scarf because they do not want the conversation with that person to ever end . Even though this poem is short, it took a couple of times to understand it and see that is it just a one long sentenced poem. I think this poem was chosen for the subway because it would seem to make people forget that they are on the train for a bit and read the poem. They would interpret the poem is about love and hopefully think about a loved one rather than the ride to their destination.

Notes On Longing

The Poem I had found was Notes on Longing by Tina Chang on the R train towards Queens. This poem has a very strong theme of family which is also reinforced by the imagery associated with it. In the first couple of lines the speaker says “It smells of after-rain tonight. Duck bones, a wounded egg on rice.” (lines 1-2) It is describing a nostalgic sense of smell with imagery of after a rainy night. The nostalgic or sense of home and family is continued as the speaker describes a local shop. “On the corner, there is a shop that makes keys, keys that open human doors, doors that lead to rooms that hold families.” (lines 3-6) This ties in the local shop into a theme of family. Next the speaker describes what might be a regular dinner in that area for a family. “There is a mother who brings sizzling flounder on a wide platter for the family whose ordinary mouths have been made to sing.” (Lines 8-11). This rounds out the poem to an almost reminiscent scene of a family. The reason i stretch to say its reminiscent is because of the title.

What I interpret the title to mean is that the author or speaker is longing for this imagery described, Of a familiar neighborhood, with familiar sights and sounds. With a mother who cooks familiar foods. The picture associated with it is that of a clothing line with clothes drying which one could say is associated with home imagery. In summation even though I personally don’t know those sights or sounds I can relate to my own longing feeling for my mothers cooking or the neighborhood that is familiar to me. Which reading while making a hour and a half commute home on the subway is somewhat saddening yet nice and nostalgic.

Train rising out of sea found on the R train

I found this poem, “Train Rising out of the sea” by Josh Ashbery, on the R train.

The first thing that caught my eye is the image that accompanies the poem, specifically it reminds me of the tile arts we see around subways, then I notice the subway tracks and photo the tiles are made up of. It compliments the poem well since the poem is one whole sentence, but broken up into three stanzas. I personally think this poem was chosen because it had the word train in it, connecting to the fact that people who would be seeing this poem are riding a train. I didn’t see any connection of the title to the poem itself till the last line “…Built to prevent you from being towed to shore.”(Line 11). From what I can get, The audience, us, is being compared to a train, sunken into the sea. the lines ” We need more night for the sky, more blue for the daylight That inundates our remarks before we can make them…”(Line 1-2) is the speaker telling us we need more time to think about what people do before we end up lingering on about our actions till we’re stranded “Like an island just off shore, one of many, that no one notices…”(line 9-10). Personally, I don’t think this poem can be accessible for general reader since it left me wondering what it is trying to say.

Poetry In Motion- Subway by Billy Collins

Billy Collins- Subway

I found the poem “Subway” By billy Collins on the A train. My initial thoughts on this poem is that I feel like its meant to be a quick read thats suppose to make you feel some form of gratitude towards the people that made your whole Train trip possible. The Artwork in the back are white sheets of paper flowing in the wind on a Navy blue background. I feel like the only relevance the art in the back has to the poem is that it represents the MTA logo off of color coordination alone. This poem had to be chosen for passengers as a reminder to remind the train passengers to appreciate the hard work and dedication that made the whole trip possible. Evidence of this are the Lines (4-7) where Billy collins said “Remember the ones who… clear a passage for you.” referring to the people who started construction on the trains in 1904. At the end of the Poem in the last line he says “Remember as you come up into the light” meaning to think back on all the things he spoke about in the poem as you come up from the train station from underground. The speaker of the poem could possibly be Billy collins himself with the subject being appreciation of the people who made the whole thing possible. The questions i have for this poem and Billy collins himself is, what motivated him to create this poem and is he himself a New Yorker that rides the subway.

Awaking in New York By Maya Angelou

‘Awaking in New York’ was written by the astound Maya Angelo. Written on a dull backdrop of what seems to be a rising sun on buildings, my initial reaction to reading this poem is, “it’s about waking up in New York City, and the routine that people working and the living in New York City experiences” but, after reading the poem and analyzing it I realize the meaning underneath the surface that it portrays is much deeper than that. In a somber and what one may describe as a depressing tone, this poem explains the lonely and depressing feeling that people feel from routine and from lack of control in their life. “Curtains forcing their wills against the wind” (lines 1-2) shows the imagery of the curtain flowing as the wind blows. an innocent image it portrays, but what the speaker is actually speaking about I believe is the troubles of life pushing through as the “wind”, and the “curtain” as people is trying to fight against it but is failing.” I an alarm, awake as a rumor of war/ lie stretching into the sun unmasked and unneeded” (lines 8-11)  the comparison to an inanimate object, shows the lack of care the speaker has for himself or herself. the poem is written in the first person, because of the use of the letter “I”, which makes the poem more relatable to subway passengers who might feel that way, because there is no gender attached. I believe this poem shows the robotic life that people inhabit as they make a step into adulthood, the stripping away of innocence and simplicity of life that we normally have as children, is removed and we become a hard surface, lacking the love, and care that we used to have as children.


Poetry In Motion- Train Rising out of the Sea by John Ashbery

I found this confusing mess on the B- Train line. My first initial reaction to this poem was what is the speaker trying to tell me because i am very lost. I had to do a lot of reread, out loud and to myself. I couldn’t really make out who the speaker really was but i believe the subject of the poem is how do we make more use of the day and time. The title of the poem didn’t help me much, in fact it made me more confused and made me wonder why the author decided to make that the title of the poem.  Until i broke the poem down stanza by stanza.

In the first stanza the speaker is trying to say that we don’t have much time in the day. Not being about to conquer the day at full capacity or fulfill the little time we have to become the best us possible. ” We need more night for the sky, more blue for the daylight” (Line 1) , i view this as, if there was more time in the day more can be accomplish.  Sometime the little time we have gets placed else where and that doesn’t benefit us in the long-run or we’re not fully involved in. Losing sight of you and what special gift you bring to the world. ” Like an island just off the shore, one of many, that no one Notices, though it has a certain function, though an abstract one” (Line 9-10) , those lines in the poem make me think that the person uniqueness is being overlooked and being over looked can cause you to lose yourself. The theme I get from the poem is Time and the poem does connect to the title. The train is your life you have different stops and delays but the sea is the world. The train is coming out the sea rising and showing what it is capable of.

Poetry in Motion- Remembering Summer By W.S. Merwin

The name of the poem I found was Remembering Summer by W.S. Merwin; I found this poem on the G train. First read, I was confused because it seemed like the speaker was jumping around also contradicting himself sentence after sentence. After reading more, I then realized that there was a pattern to it, which was that some lines were its own thought and one would get lost if you tried to connect the thoughts (lines) that didn’t go together. As far as the visuals for this poem goes, there’s a minor assortment of bright bright ceramic tiles, and one of the patterns is what appears to be some sort of yellow flower. I think this poem was chosen for subway readers to read because New Yorkers can relate the most to what it feels like to being too cold, while also being able to have a short but very warm summer. The speaker is a boy or girl that is talking to an older woman about what she thinks of the winter and being cold compared to the summer, and how she didn’t remember much of the summer because of how quick it passed by. With the subject being summer, the theme of this poem is that summer was so enjoyable and short to remember if the heat was ever an uncomfortable factor because of the positive distractions nature provided.

Poetry in Motion – Notes on Longing by Tina Chang

I found the poem “Note On Longing” by Tina Chang on the R train. When I first read it, I felt like I was watching a video. The words are like a video player that play the scene into my mind.  It was describing a peaceful night that a family was having a dinner together. The art that goes together with the poem shows a white towel with strips, a pair of green socks with some kind of patterns on it and a white towel with grid pattern are hanging on a red string on a very sunny day. This picture gives me a warm feeling which matches the feeling that the poem gives to me. But, I do not think the art is the best for the poem, because the poem is describing a scene which happens at night. This poem was chosen to be subway reading, I think it is  because the poem can make the subway rides more relax and make people feel like their simple peaceful life is the best. A peaceful after-rain night, duck meal, egg over rice, family dinner and sizzling flounder all makes people want to go home and feel less stress. The poem is exploring the beauty of life. The scene that the poem describes was the dream life that the speaker wants to have. It makes me want to cherish my life more. I think this poem is very easy to read. I can picture the scene very easily.