Chilean poetry comes to the Russian public on Moscow Metro

Chile is to be the first country featured in a new project in the Russian capital, where poems from some of the world’s best-known writers will be displayed on the city’s underground trains.


Moscow will get a taste of great Latin American literature in November as five famous Chilean poets are exhibited on the city’s subway network from Wednesday November 17.

Launching Moscow’s new ‘Poetry in the Metro’ project, Nobel laureates Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral will have a whole train car devoted to their lives and work, with a further three cars featuring fellow national poets Gonzalo Rojas, Vicente Huidobro and Nicanor Parra.

Chile’s stand-out part in the project is the result of a joint effort by the Moscow Metro and the Chilean Embassy in Russia to celebrate Chile’s recent bicentenary of its independence on September 18.

The display, which runs on Metro Line 4 (Filiévskaia), will feature fragments of poetry in Spanish and Russian as well as photographs and biographies of the poets, with words and images selected by the Chilean Embassy.

The scheme is part of a chain of cultural initiatives on the city’s subway which began in June 2008 with the ‘Moscow Reads’ project, featuring well-known children’s literature, and has also included an exhibition of famous watercolour art.

The Chilean Embassy hopes that the project will provide a great opportunity for the people of Moscow to learn more about the Chile’s rich literary culture. In a news release it said: “Reading fragments of some of Chile’s most famous poetry, the passengers of the Moscow Metro will be able to increase their cultural awareness.

“These poets have made a valuable contribution to world art, in their lives and in their work, and have become bright stars on the universal literary horizon.”

There is a Happy Day (excerpt)
Nicanor Parra

A good thing, my God! one never knows how
to appreciate true joy
we imagine it farthest away
precisely when it is most near.

Tableau of Air (excerpt)
Gonzalo Rojas

Suppose imagination were an invention
as it is; that this great house of air
called Earth were an invention, that this
and salty mirror invented in our image and reflection moved
further away and were
an invention of the invention…

Love the Yellow Autumn (excerpt)
Vicente García-Huidobro Fernández

Love the Autumn painting yellow,
Spilling the elegance of his great lethargy,
Tangling his old gold in my little garden…
Autumn is the longest sunset!