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Chilean Verse Featured in Metro's 'Poetry Train'

Students from a local high school that specializes in teaching Spanish reading poems by five Chilean authors aboard a metro car on Wednesday. Vladimir Filonov

A “Poetry in the Metro” train started running on the Light Blue Line last week featuring excerpts from the biographies and works of five Chilean poets, including Nobel Prize laureates Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral.

The poetry train was the metro’s initiative but was created jointly with the Chilean Embassy, which selected 80 poems — in Spanish and Russian. From its conception, the project took three months to organize, a metro spokesman told The Moscow Times.

In half a year, Muscovites will be able to enjoy poetry from another country, he said.

On Wednesday, the embassy and metro gathered Russian schoolchildren for the opening, including kids from the Pablo Neruda School. The middle school in Medvedkovo, northern Moscow, places a special focus on the study of Spanish.

The other three poets are Gonzalo Rojas, a major influence in Latin American avant-garde, Vicente Huidobro, a founder of the creationism literary movement in the early 20th century, and Nicanor Parra, known for his colloquial language. Parra and Vicente are the only two living poets in the quintet.

This decorated train, which is scheduled to run for six months, will be the seventh themed train in the Moscow metro. Metro officials say they made a deliberate choice to bypass Russian poets and show off foreign verses instead.

The poetry train is Moscow’s second with a literary theme. The first, titled “Reading Moscow,” runs on the Ring Line and has cozy walls covered with stickers of abstracts from children’s books.

Other unusual metro trains include one themed after the Kursk battlefield as a reminder of the Soviet sacrifice during World War II and a “retro train” recreated to resemble the first train to ever operate within the Moscow subway. Both run on the metro’s Red Line.

While the metro declined to comment on the project’s cost, he said it “wasn’t expensive” compared with a retro train that the metro had to build and equip from scratch in Mytishchi.

One of the themed trains — the Krasnaya Strela, or Red Arrow — was one of two targeted in twin suicide bombings in the metro on March 29. The bomb was detonated at the

Lubyanka metro station and was one of two blasts that killed more than three dozen people and injured over 100.

The repaired train was relaunched on May 15, the day of the metro’s 75th anniversary.

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