100 poets around the world responded to Ioana Morpurgo’s call to create collective poem and defy the limits imposed by the pandemic.
In March 2020, Romanian poet Ioana Morpurgo began her journey of gathering 100 poets around the world to write a renga poem. This type of poem is created collectively by several poets, each of them adding a few lines to the preexisting ones while maintaining the same theme.
Fighting against the lockdown
The lockdown made Ioana wonder about the effects of loneliness and what forms it can take in case of people all over the world, during these harsh conditions. Through this project, she tried to emphasize the spiritual connection which exists among the people who are guided by the same sensibility, regardless of physical barriers. The poem also represented a more accurate portrayal of the events occurring in each country, presenting lesser known facets of reality. The emotions of the people became more palpable as they were presented in their truest form, through poetry, not with the aid of news or social media.
The poets who collaborated were either chosen by Ioana, after having read hundreds of poems, or recommended by Romanian writers and editors. Each of them had 24 hours in order to read the previous lines and contribute with four to six more.
The poets from 45 countries, 5 continents, were united by a single piece of work which travelled instead of them, when they were not able to. Its title, Airborne Particles, is also suggestive, being a reminder that distance and physical barriers fade in the face of a strong community guided by the same will.
The journey of the poem began in the middle of April in Turkey and ended this month in England, returning to the curator of the project, Ioana Morpurgo. The final version consists of five parts, written in English and translated by the poets in their native languages.
The recordings made by the poets while reading the lines with which they contributed are available on YouTube, with a total of five videos which correspond to the five parts of the poem:
If you are impressed by the lines written by Ioana and the other Romanian authors involved in this project and want to dive deeper into Romanian literature, I recommend this article.