Reviving literature

world poetry day

It is National Poetry Day in Hungary today. Celebrated ever since 1964 to commemorate the birthday of  Attila Jozsef, the poet. Sounds like those times in primary school when we learned to recite poems on Tito. What I am trying to say is, there is a slightly boring connotation to it. When I read: poetry reading programs (mostly by students) will be held all around the country, I can totally envision the crowd. Not. Reading about those programs today I came across a great sentence, by a journalist Szabolcs Szili:

We have come to a certain level in all aspect of life, where we produce, produce, grandiosely bring to life new and new things, but nobody needs them. This is true about literature too. Everybody is a writer, a poet, but to read a book or poetry, that somehow is not working too well.

It is true, people don’t read literature anymore! Especially poetry! But is also true that thanks to certain enthusiasts new ways of reaching out to public and broadening people’s horizons, whether they want it or not, pop up every day, and they spread like crazy thanks to internet and social media. Just a few weeks ago, on World Poetry Day an event was created on facebook (by Hungarians), called Post Poetry on the street. The crazy thing was, it got thousands of followers in no time. That day, and today again, many of those enthusiasts stuck poetry to their building entrances, lamp posts, tram windows, benches, playgrounds, public toilets.

world poetry day

Photo: Gergely Csősz

Meanwhile in Zagreb, Croatia completely independently (or not?!) of the above mentioned activity a political party ZA _ _ _ _ GRAD (FOR THE _ _ _ _ CITY) organized the action Literature in public transportation. Printed and laminated excerpts from several Croatian temporary novels and one poem were hanged in Zagreb blue trams one  morning to the surprise of grumpy and sleepy passengers. The idea behind it is to break the monotony of a tram ride as well as  taking the passenger’s minds of their everyday worries, but potentially maybe even to motivate them to go and find the book and read it on even outside of  the tram.

There are more and more movements such as these, some promoting culture, some calling people out and away from their living rooms, TVs and computers. We support those 100%, how about you?


About the author

Petra Tkalcec

Petra is a Co-founder and Executive Editor of EastOK Europe. She is a Croatian living in Budapest with her Serbian husband, two sons and an English bulldog.

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