What was the reason for this project?

                                                                 by cristiana massioni & ernesto perillo


It was born of our care and passion

                          –for poetry

                                 -for languages (especially in artistic fields)

                                         -for the construction of networks and connections

                                                 -for questions

(we spent time in schools both as students and teachers, dealing with professional teacher training … we have never given up wondering and questioning)

The project was born of long deep readings, of thoughts/words by Wisława Szymborska, since we first met her.
The idea of sharing the basic question of the Polish poet “what on earth is poetry?” was born out of our passions.
Her challenging “Nie Wiem” (I don’t know) can could be a starting point for a route to involve other people.

Which people?

                              Young people?

Why not both, maybe in connection with one another and with each of us?


It seems to us a need/desire/pleasure, going on together in order to understand, to know, to communicate – a need which is not always visible or clearly expressed or aware of itself but often pressing – through different generations, cultures and genres. Therefore this project appeals to all the members of a community, which in sharing learns and teaches at the same time.

If a school is part of a community, also its public library is part of it, both being tools/resources toward the final aim : taking the challenge “what on earth is poetry?” and her thought-provoking “I don’t know”.
Therefore, as the poet herself says, when talking about a beloved paint


                                      “Using words to describe Vermeer’s paintings is a waste of energy.
                                            Music could be much more suitable,
                                              a quartet for two violins, a harp and a bassoon.”


we thought that it would be possible to find analogies between her poetry and different artistic languages, thus being able to compare/better understand the poems.

Therefore, in order to start the game, we involved photographer Vincenzo Cottinelli from Brescia, who made his images in black and white available to the young people and the adults taking part in the project. The pictures were freely matched to the poems which had been initially chose by ourselves.

A workshop, in its original meaning as a place where a process leads to an outcome, not an exibition where the result achieved is displayed, seemed to us the most suitable way to reach our goal.

The project was submitted to and accepted by the city council and the public library of Feltre, it was led by the teachers Annarosa Cavallari and Marcello Della Valentina with their classes of Liceo “Dal Piaz” and it was developed as an open laboratory.

The process, which led us to (un)expected results, is documented in the following pages, which represent the logbook of our experience.


translation by 4AL 2017  –   teacher Renata Cataldi