Poets and Musicians Honor Grand Central Centennial

Poetry in Motion

On Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 7:00 p.m., MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design, in partnership with the Poetry Society of America, the nation’s oldest poetry organization, will present Keeping Time: Poets and Musicians Honor Grand Central. Some of the country’s most exciting poets join forces with performers from Music Under New York for an evening of music and poetry honoring Grand Central Terminal in its centennial year.  The readings and performances in Vanderbilt Hall are free and open to the public.

During its 100 year history, Grand Central’s vaulted Main Concourse has served as a glorious stage for the pageant of daily lives, a place where we meet and cross paths. At its center, the clock stands sentinel, bearing witness to countless moments and stories over time.

Keeping Time: Poets and Musicians Honor Grand Central will celebrate the place – its architecture, the crowds, iconography, and poetics.

The MTA and Metro-North Railroad are celebrating the Centennial in many ways.  Sharing the sounds and language of musicians and poets joins two great programs in celebration, Music Under New York and Poetry in Motion®, a collaboration of  the Poetry Society of America and MTA ‘s Arts for Transit and Urban Design.

The poets, who will read poems around the themes of time and travel implicit in the space of Grand Central, include Aracelis Girmay, Jeffrey Yang, and Billy Collins of the newly re-launched Poetry in Motion® program, as well as Eduardo C. Corral, winner of the Yale Younger Poets Prize, New York State Poet Laureate Marie Howe, and Bob Holman, Artistic Director of Bowery Arts and Sciences.

The evening also will feature riveting performances by the MTA’s Music Under New York groups including: Yaz Band, a four-piece group known for playing classic R&B music; the world’s only all-female mariachi band, Mariachi Flor de Toloache, who blend edgy sounds with traditional Mexican music; Gambian Kora player and descendant of the inventor of the West African harp, Salieu Suso; and the New Orleans-style swing jazz group Hot Sardines. 

Billy Collins, the former US Poet Laureate, will conclude the evening and read his poem “Grand Central” from Poetry in Motion®. The poem was commissioned to celebrate the Grand Central Centennial and is currently featured on subway posters and MetroCards.