The Poetry Jukebox

January 8, 2019

Not sure how we missed this poetry project, but it definitely deserves a spot here! The Poetry Jukebox originated in Prague as Pianos on the Streets. Café owner and cultural activist Ondřej Kobza, along with producer and writer Michaela Hečková, focus on the “animation of public space in cities.” During the last four years they have installed about 50 pianos and 60 chess tables in public places and have now turned their attention to The Poetry Jukebox, saying,

“The Poetry Jukebox is a jukebox with poetry. We believe that listening to the original voices of poets is one of the most beautiful and inspiring experiences a city can offer.”

With jukeboxes in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ireland, Scotland, Bulgaria, Germany, and the Philippines, and an earlier New York version installed in 2016 in front of CBGB with the support of the Bowery Poetry Club, the latest was installed in Greenwich Village at the Ruth E. Wittenberg Triangle at Sixth Ave. and Eighth St.

“You walk by, you press a button, you hear a poem. It’s strikingly simple and, well, kind of genius.”

Read more about the Greenwich Village jukebox in The Villager, and learn more about the project on The Poetry Jukebox website and on Facebook.


piano concert on the Vltava River

We don’t know what a “poetry machine” might look like, but if Ondřej Kobza is involved, it’s likely to be quirky and entertaining. Kobza, who is a bar owner and entrepreneur well-known around Prague, recently masterminded the placement of pianos throughout the city, available free for anyone who wanted to sit down and play. (He also arranged the piano concert afloat on the Vltava River, shown above.)

Now Kobza has announced a new crowd-sourced project: “Two open-air public ‘poetry machines'” to be placed in the city center. The English in the Prague Daily Monitor is nearly poetry in itself, so it’s a little difficult to picture the “poetrymat,” but we’ll be watching for pictures “as from February.”

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