Anja Snellman


Vesa Linna


Poetry on the Go

A Poem for You seeks to lower the threshold for discovering poetry by making poems available in surprising circumstances and unexpected contexts. Merja Turpeinen and Siiri Koponen, mother and daughter, thought of the idea while waiting for their food at a restaurant.

“We were trying to find ways to make poetry available for everyone, to somehow take poetry to the streets and into the cityscape.”

SIIRI CAME UP with the idea of a tear-off flyer that could be posted on noticeboards in stores, in the streets, and in libraries and other public institutions, for example.

The duo designed a template and created a website where anyone can download the template and print out flyers for their own poetry—or that of others, with permission.

“We wanted people to encounter poetry where they least expect it: on the notice board in a grocery store, at a bus stop, on a lamppost,” Siiri explains.

“This way, poetry reaches people who might not otherwise make an effort to become familiar with this form of art.”

SO FAR, tear-off poetry flyers have been posted on noticeboards and other places of display in more than 50 locations across Finland, up to the northwestern “arm of Finland” in Lapland.

The project started in the fall of 2018 and has been on social media since early 2019.

“We have received positive feedback. Many people have kept their tear-off poems and used them as bookmarks or posted them on the fridge door with a magnet,” says Merja.

“The poems have also created memorable moments. Some people have said that the poem they discovered was exactly what they needed in their life at that moment.”

SIIRI HOLDS a bachelor’s degree in art education from the University of Lapland and engages in both visual and literary arts, especially poetry. Merja holds a PhD from the University of Tampere, specializes in administration, and currently works as a municipal project planner.

“Alongside my work, I have always had a calling for the arts. I have a long history in visual arts and have increasingly engaged in writing in recent years,” Merja says.

“We like working together,” says Siiri. “We are both interested in methods that encourage participation in the arts. We have held joint art exhibitions, and we also write poetry.”

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