Leading with Poetry: Mona Arshi

Posted: 8th September 2017

Poems on the Underground

The launch of the St Augustine’s Priory Association on Wednesday (see separate article) re-emphasised that St Augustine’s Priory is a community, made up of current and past pupils, parents and staff.  With that in mind we are pleased to let you know the latest news of Mona Arshi, award-winning poet and Augustinian parent.

The poem ‘This Morning’ by Mona Arshi is featured in the Poems on the Underground’s second set of poems for 2017 which celebrates Indian poetry in this seventieth anniversary year of Indian independence.  It is one of the six Indian Poems on the Underground which are being displayed in trains from 14th August for four weeks.  The Poems on the Underground website says, ‘The distinguished contemporary Indian poets featured represent a broad range of voices from India herself and the huge Indian diaspora.  Three poems – Pilgrim, This Morning, and Approaching Fifty – include illustrations taken from David Gentleman’s India, by kind permission of David Gentleman.’

The Poems on the Underground website has this to say about ‘This Morning’ and Ms Arshi:  ‘’This Morning’ by Mona Arshi, the youngest poet featured, Arshi is a London child’s perception of her Indian mother’s very different world.  Born in 1970 to Punjabi Sikh parents in West London and grew up in Hounslow. She worked for a decade as a lawyer for the human rights charity Liberty UK.  Her book Small Hands won the Forward Prize for best First Collection.’

We all use the London Underground, whether in the rush hour, or at a more leisurely pace at the weekends and over the years we will all have read the Poems on the Underground, a venture launched in 1986 ‘following an idea from the American writer Judith Chernaik, to bring poetry to a wider audience’ (Poems on the Underground website).

The website goes on to say, ‘Poems on the Underground highlights classical, contemporary and international work, by both famous and relatively unknown poets. It has been a great success and has inspired similar schemes in cities around the world, from New York to Shanghai. It’s proved to be a great way of introducing the public to poetry, with passengers often wanting to read more.’

The poems are available from the Poetry Society and London Transport Museum and to discover more about the series of poems celebrating Indian poetry, please go to:

https://literature.britishcouncil.org/blog/2017/indian-poems-on-the-underground/

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