The Poesiomat in Brno, Source: City of Brno

Have you heard of Poesiomats?

Have you heard of Poesiomats?

A Czech invention that brings an innovative twist to the concept of urban furniture

They look like black periscopes sticking out of the ground and observing the urban landscape around them. Or they could be confused with an air pipe that connects to some grid hidden in the Netherlands. Meet the Poesiomatsthe urban poetry machines that have taken over most of the cities in the Czech Republic, and recently also other places around the world.

The idea behind the Poesiomat, invented by café owner and cultural activist Ondřej Kobza, was to create a sort of publicly accessible jukebox for spoken word culture.

The first one of this type was installed in Prague's Míru Square in 2015 and since then they have become a common feature in other Czech cities, towns, villages and even castles.

Lending an ear to culture

The aim of the Poesiomat is to revive the appeal of poetry by making it easily accessible to the masses. According to the initiative’s website, the poetry machines, however, can also contain lyrics, songs and sounds related to the specific place they are located in. In essence, that means that no two are alike in terms of their cultural content.

The poetry machines are made of steel and are about 180 cm tall, consisting of three assembled parts. Inside each of them there’s a speaker and electronic software which contains 20 different mp3 files. Passers-by can spin a handle jutting out from one side of the machine and choose what to play.

On the photos, you see the Poesiomat in Brno, Czechia’s second city. You will find it on Bratislavska Street there and you can hear Czech poets who had been interned in the local prison, authentic memories of political prisoners, but also poems, songs and texts of contemporary Czech and Roma authors.



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