Tram in Hong Kong showing the Poetry on the tram posters
Poetry on the Tram ©

British Council Hong Kong

Image: Poetry on the Tram. Photo: © Cheung Chi Wai

This fascinating new project aims to integrate poetry into the general community by displaying lines of poems within the city’s public spaces. From mid-November 2013 until the end of February 2014, 29 newly-renovated tram cars, decorated with poetry in both Chinese and English, were operating on Hong Kong Island. The poem selections included work from poets around the world including the UK, USA, France, Japan, Mainland China and Hong Kong. 

"The theme 'Poetry on the Tram' itself invokes multifaceted connections of word and song, of stillness and movement, of segments and impression, on which basis there are three factors to stress: first, the musicality; second, the emotion; and third, the brief, yet lingering rhythms. These words will reflect a light back on the crowds as they work their way through Hong Kong, this international metropolis, offering brief encounters with international poetry, displayed in Chinese and English, and providing a chance for exchange and interaction between Hong Kong residents hailing from all walks of life.

These encounters will leave behind a perception of the poet’s words and feed the imagination.”  




Professor Beidao from the International Poetry Nights in Hong Kong.

Displayed poems

‘Lightness’ by Menna Elfyn (Wales, UK) 

‘Sky’ by Olvido García Valdés (Spain) 

‘Auguries of Innocence’ by William Blake (UK) 

‘Days’ by  Philip Larkin (UK) 

‘The Summer’s Night’ Yves Bonnefoy (France) 

‘Wind’ Lan Lan (China) 

‘Cityscape’ Leung Ping-kwan (Hong Kong) 

‘Kelp’ Jeffrey Yang  (USA) 

‘The Sea’ by Shuntaro Tanikawa (Japan) 

‘Travel Guide to the Forest of Meaning’ Adonis  (Syria)