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Poem on the Underground

Love at Green Park Tube station won prize in The Sunday Telegraph 01 December 2008. London Underground is the setting for love in Genevieve Gaunt’s prize- winning poem called “Green Park”. The 17-year-old from Hammersmith has scooped second prize in The Sunday Telegraph and Rose Theatre’s Poetry for Performance Competition. The teenager’s poem was chosen out of 1,400 entries in the teen category.

The judges included Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, Ben Okri OBE Booker- winning novelist and poet who lives in London and poet and novelist Jackie Kay MBE. The theme for the competition was “personal relationships” and the sonnet can be heard being performed online by actor Timothy West CBE.

Genevieve Gaunt said: “My poem, ‘Green Park’, is on a particularly London-based theme; the Underground. All those thousands of people standing silent each morning, iPods filling up the spaces in between each other; eyes averted on the Tube – what would happen if on one such morning something changed all that?

“I chose Green Park because it lies in the heart of London. The name itself has a fresh sound and romantic connotation. When looking at a Tube map, the Central line and District line run parallel – like the lovers do.”

Judith Chernaik, who picks the poems for the London Underground’s Poems on the Underground, said: “It’s a delightful poem, a pleasure to read, an exhilarating tribute to the Underground and to the joys of young love. It’s wonderfully accomplished.”

London Underground has applied for planning permission to bring major improvements to Green Park Tube station in time for the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. If successful, London Underground will provide full step-free access from street to platform level to benefit mobility impaired passengers, customers with pushchairs and heavy luggage. Work would be completed in 2011.

Work to modernise the station has already started and includes installing new CCTV cameras to make passengers feel safer and improve security, putting in Help Points and providing a new public address system which will make announcements clearer. Partially sighted customers will benefit from contrasting handrails and access will be improved for mobility impaired passengers by putting tactile strips on platforms and stairs.

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