European Youth Portal
Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

Lovers of poetry paid for their coffee with their art for a day

How much is art worth? Can we put a price tag on our feelings? Can a poet’s work be just as valuable as a banker’s? These are the kind of questions that the ’Pay with a poem’ day, organised to celebrate the international day of poetry wanted to call people’s attention to.

’Let’s show the world that our feelings are more valuable than money!’ – this was the motto of the ’Pay with a poem’ campaign during which 1100 cafes of 23 counties offered a cup of hot drink to those that brought their hand-written poems along on the 21st March, the International Day of Poetry. 


Important message


„We are the generation of more: we work more, we earn more, we travel more, we party more, we run more, we see more, we spend more, but the more things we do, the less we feel. We have less time to look after our loved ones, to love and to be impressed. But is this really a better life? A life where there is no time for feelings? What if we slowed down for a minute and gave a chance to feelings?” – can be heard on the promotional video of the initiative: a message that was given to people to consider when walking into one of the participating cafés on 21st March 2015.  


Marcel Loffler, the creator of the idea explained that the project which spans the whole globe was launched because he and his team thought that by bringing more poetry into the world, they can make it a better place. „Unfortunately, in today’s fast-spaced world, we appreciate tangible products a lot more than deep feelings and thoughts and a lot of talented poets are forced to give up their ambitions because they cannot pay the bills with their poems. By organising the ‘Pay with a poem’ day, the organisers wanted to tell them that they are important and are very much needed in our society.”


Through the cafes’ eyes...


The event, which attracted many people all over the world, was embraced by 10 cafes in Hungary. One of them was the Mini Bar Budapest, who described their experience in the following words:


„We like poems and coffee, therefore we were quite fond of this initiative. Before signing up for it, we had no idea it would turn out to be so popular! During the day, rhyme-makers were coming almost constantly and the outcome was fantastic! Children, young people, elderly people and what’s more, even some foreigners took up the pen in exchange for coffee. Some poems were funny, some of them were serious and we closed the day with 120 works. We would love to join next time as well.”


...and the future 

Whether ’Pay with a poem’ will be organised next year again is still a question, but those who became enthusiastic about writing poems thanks to the initiative do not have to wait for an entire year to follow their passion and meet likeminded people. The slam poetry events that are gaining immense popularity all over Hungary are always waiting for new talents who are willing to perform their poems in front of the microphone and a small audience.


Besides, the Hungarian Day of Poetry is coming up as well that has been celebrated on 11th April since 1964 to commemorate the birthday of Attila József, a famous Hungarian poet. On this day, there are plenty of programmes to choose from this year, too, like the Thalia Theatre’s Poem Marathon, the writer-reader meet-up at the Szabó Ervin Library or the Poetry Day Concert of Akvárium. The detailed programme is available here. 


Pictures: Max Braun


Judit Molnár

Published: Mon, 24/08/2015 - 22:36

Tweet Button: 

Related links

Info for young people in the western balkans

Need expert help or advice?

Ask us!