Ten Poems about London
Selected and Introduced by George Szirtes
London has probably inspired more poetry than any of the world’s great cities. William Wordsworth’s iconic ‘Composed upon Westminster Bridge’ shows how even a great poet of nature could be dazzled by its architectural splendour and the serene waters of the Thames.
In more recent times, poets have relished London for its vivacity and heady contrasts. Here, the Underground becomes a fascinating ocean:
“Swimming through the corridors and past signs
I consider if the bow-wave of multi-coloured
faces are really fish…”
from ‘Underground’ by Elizabeth Bartlett
George Szirtes’ eclectic selection captures something of the essence of the city, revealed through its railway stations, squares, coffee houses – even the trees that line its streets. Whether you’re a native Londoner or a visitor, this mini-anthology provides a perfect companion to this most beguiling of capitals.
Cover illustration by Paul Catherall.