Futurism emphasised the importance of youth in its fight against the past and the forces of tradition, and its iconoclastic attitude proved to be very attractive to young artists. For instance: the painter Tullio Crali created his first Futurist drawings when he was just fifteen years old.

Around the time of World War One, a newspaper titled L’Italia futurista (Futurist Italy) even ran a regular feature called I giovanissimi futuristi (The Very Young Futurists), dedicated to poems written by junior members of the movement.

These poems were written in a style known as parole in libertà (words in freedom), which was developed by F. T. Marinetti, leader of the Futurist movement, between 1912 and 1913. As its name suggests, it called for the greatest possible expressive liberty, abolishing grammar, punctuation and even conventional spelling. It also introduced a greater visual dimension to works of literature, using fonts of different sizes and colours, and stressed the importance of onomatopoeia. It was the belief of Futurist poets that the immediacy, concision and dynamism of this new approach would make their work more attuned to the modern sensibility, with its “love of speed, abbreviation, and the summary”.

In one of his manifestos, Marinetti wrote that modern poets “waste no time in building sentences. Punctuation and the right adjectives will mean nothing to them. They will despise subtleties and nuances of language [preferring] fistfuls of essential words in no conventional order. The sole preoccupation of the narrator being to render every vibration of his or her being. […] I do not want to suggest an idea or a sensation with traditional airs and graces. Instead, I want to grasp them brutally and hurl them in the reader’s face.”

I Giovanissimi Futuristi. L'Italia Futurista, Anno I. No 1

Marinetti understood that this approach should be limited to creative writing and did not suggest that it should be adopted in every context, stating: “Philosophy, the exact sciences, politics, journalism, education, business, however much they may seek synthetic forms of expression, will still need to use syntax and punctuation. I am obliged, for that matter, to use them myself in order to make myself clear to you.” (p95, Futurist Manifestos).

Many of the ‘very young Futurists’ who contributed their poems to L’Italia futurista are forgotten today, but their compositions burst with youthful energy, enthusiasm and exuberance in evoking the exciting modern world around them.

Further Teachers' Resources

- The beginning of Futurism Read more
- Futurism Emerges Read more
- Capturing Motion Read more
- Giorgio Morandi Read more
- Capturing the Human Spirit Read more
- Metaphysical Marvels Read more
- Simultaneity and Synaesthesia Read more

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