Ride Manila metro to read Spanish poetryMarch 7th, 2009 - 10:15 am ICT by IANS
Manila, March 7 (EFE) The passengers on the bustling Manila metro can now read the verses of Pablo Neruda, Luis Cernuda, Lope de Vega and San Juan de la Cruz while travelling, thanks to a campaign to promote reading.
The campaign was launched in the Philippine capital by the Cervantes Institute and the Spanish Embassy.
“How swift the street seen all at once, the car mirrors multiplied by the sun, how filthy the air: and this was the world?” is a translation of a poem by Gonzalo Rojas that has been pasted in Spanish and English on the sides of the train that covers the 17 kilometres and 13 stations between Pasay and Quezon, two of the cities that make up the polluted Manila megalopolis.
“If we can reach one percent of the half million commuters that ride this line every day, we’ll be happy,” said Jose Rodriguez, director of the Cervantes in Manila, capital of a country where 22 percent of adults say they read at least once a week and where the most popular books are the Bible and romance novels, according to official data.
The metro has donated this space, for which it normally charges 300,000 pesos ($6155) a day, to display poems in English and Spanish written by 15 Spanish, Latin American and Filipino poets, from independence leader Jose Rizal to Jaime Gil de Biedma and Luis Garcia Montero.
“Tu Risa” (Your Laughter) by Pablo Neruda and “Tu Justificas Mi Existencia” (You Justify My Existence) by Luis Cernuda touched a sensitive chord among Manilans, judging by the number of references that appeared on local blogs and photologs about “Berso sa Metro,” the name of the campaign in the Tagalog language of the Philippines.
“I tried to reflect on what the poets inspired in me and at the same time create attractive designs to get the attention of passengers who are always in a hurry,” said Filipino Nikkorlai Tapan, the campaign’s art director.
The project, which has already proven successful in cities like New York and Madrid, was held here last summer in a government campaign to promote reading.
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