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Over the millennia, countless lines of verse have been written about the streets of Jerusalem. But starting May 16, lines of poetry will be in the streets of Jerusalem. Literally.
Shirrehov, or "Poetry in the Street," is a large public art project that will display dozens of poems throughout the city. The poems, written on signs, will hang for at least a month on everything from storefronts to bus stops, lamp posts to coffee shops.
The Hebrew verse, ranging from medieval Spanish to Israeli avant-garde, will all be relevant to the city. It will be spread among five neighborhoods, all chosen for their heavy foot traffic.
Tsila Chayun, Shirrehov's producer and artistic director, hopes the project will introduce poems to people who are not exposed to poetry in their daily lives, "to give them a moment of inspiration."
Also, Chayun sees this endeavor as contributing to the renewal of vigorous outdoor activity. "After all the bad years when people disappeared from the street," she explains, this will help "bring back culture and normal, inspired life to the streets and to the people."
It should feel as though the streets of Jerusalem are a vast art gallery and the hanging poems are the art.
In addition to the signs, thousands of poetry postcards will be distributed to guide people from poem to poem through this city-sized exhibit.