The Printemps des Poètes was launched in 1999 by Minister Jack Lang, Emmanuel Hoog and André Velter. Since 2001, its artistic director is Jean-Pierre Siméon. It lasts two weeks, every year in March, and takes place almost everywhere in France, from major Parisian theaters to small villages, and in more than twenty other countries. Its purpose is to promote poetry through the voice of contemporary authors and major historical ones like Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Aragon... Every year, its national coordination launches a theme: "At the heart of arts" in 2014, "Insurrection" in 2015, and "The Great XXth (century)" in 2016. This theme gives the opportunity for organisers to focus on an author, a School or a creative idea (writing or saying poetry in public spaces for instance). Many of authors are invited in schools, cultural centres, theaters, librairies and bookshops during these two weeks. A press release is edited each year to promote the events organised everywhere in France and throughout the world. The Printemps des Poètes works every year with a publisher which publishes an anthology linked to the theme: “Childhood” in 2012, “Voices of the poem” in 2013, “At the heart of arts” in 2014, “Insurrection” in 2015 and “The Great XXth” in 2016. The Printemps des Poètes invites authors, orders poems and promotes them through its partnerships, among which the Parisian Undergound, where poems are displayed. The Post Office also distributes postcards with poems and displays poetical short movies in its offices.
The Printemps des Poètes created in 2014 a flashmob, in partnership with the Théâtre National de Chaillot, on the theme of freedom with famous choregrapher José Montalvo. It took place in Paris, on the esplanade du Trocadéro, in front of the Eiffel Tower and mixed dancing and telling of the famous poem Liberté by Paul Eluard. This flashmob was such a success that people organised it in Japan, Indonesia and Muscat (a video can be seen on Youtube: “On a dansé le poème…et la Liberté!).
Each year, the Printemps des Poetes pays a tribute to a famous poet with major events: Pablo Neruda (2013), Max Jacob (2014), Luc Bérimont and Robert Desnos (2015).
During the year, the Printemps des Poètes is also a resource centre and promotes authors on its website (in its "Poéthèque"), current events (in its "agenda"), and organises conferences, prizes (Prix Apollinaire and Prix Andrée Chedid). The Printemps des Poètes also focuses on education, and has created a network of hundreds of schools which promote poetry every day in class (teachers read a poem every day in front of the pupils, poems are distributed, poets are invited...).