Poets Take the Streets

By Mackenzie Constantinou, MA 2014-15

Walking down the narrow, busy, cobbled streets of Florence you might notice bright colored street art or flyers glued to the walls. Though, if taking time to actually notice the wall decorations passersby might come across white posters with a few lines written on them. These seem peculiar in comparison to the eye-catching dynamic works that also adorn the walls. The white papers are poems written by locals and can be found throughout the entire city center. 

The poets are part of the Movimento per l’Emancipazione della Poesia (MEP) which originated in Florence and for the last five years has brought poetry to the public. The MEP aims to bring poetry back to society and it believes that poems should not be bound to the elite class rather they are for all people. By displaying their diverse works throughout the city, the poets effectively reach the entire public. Furthermore, the organization hopes to publish poems free of charge and free of any political or thematic attachments.

Currently the MEP has a presence in fourteen other cities and is continuously growing with popularity and importance. This organization also has a large virtual presence via their website and Facebook page. These sites allow them to reach out and communicate to cities where the movement has not taken place.

With the movement’s fifth year anniversary coming up, the organization hopes to continue to gain followers in order to reignite the public’s interest in poetry. Even with all of their success though, the MEP does wish that the communities could appreciate poetry and accept poets without requiring organizations like MEP to exist. For now, Movimento per l’Emancipazione della Poesia will continue to have a strong presence in Florence as well as a growing existence throughout Italy. Keep a look out for the poems throughout the winding cobble lined streets of Florence to add a bit of inspiration to your day.

Photo by Mackenzie Constantinou


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