The 21st March is officially World Poetry Day. Literature enthusiast Hayim Oshky looks at the meaning behind this worldwide event, as well as how people plan to celebrate World Poetry Day.
Reflecting human experience
Poetry has served as an artistic form of expression since ancient times. From early wordsmiths like Homer to medieval bards like Shakespeare, across the ages writers have used spoken and written poetry to tell amazing stories which sum up every facet of what it means to be human.
Speaking about poetry Irina Bokova, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) once said: “Every poem is unique but each reflects the universal in human experience, the aspiration for creativity that crosses all boundaries and borders, of time as well as space, in the constant affirmation of humanity as a single family.”
World Poetry Day
Recognising the importance of poetry to human civilisation and “the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.” UNESCO declared 21st March of every year World Poetry Day in 1999. The primary purpose of World Poetry Day is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry, in order to support linguistic diversity.
UNESCO’s other main reason for establishing World Poetry Day was to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard throughout communities. It is tradition on this day to hold oral recitations of poetry, as well as engage in practises which promote a dialogue between poetry and other forms of artistic expression like dance, theatre and music.
Organisations across the planet plan to mark World Poetry Day in various ways. Groups such as Take One Action, which exists to promote social change and The Poetry Society previously announced that they will host events and campaigns for World Poetry Day. Meanwhile UNESCO will celebrate the poetry of William Butler Yeats, Pablo Neruda and Aime Cesaire this time around.
In recent times, people have taken to using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to mark global events. For instance on World Pi Day, set aside to celebrate the mathematical theory of ‘Pi,’ the hashtag #PiDay trended on Twitter. This allowed people to share their various Pi Day celebrations with others, further promoting Pi! A hashtag such as #WorldPoetryDay is sure to trend on Twitter today, giving users the ability to express their love for this form of literary expression with everyone else!
Mark the occasion
You do not need to set aside one day of every year to appreciate poetry. However, World Poetry Day gives those of us that truly enjoy this form of literature a chance to appreciate it, as well as share our passion across the globe. Look at what’s happening in your area and on social media to learn how you can mark World Poetry Day for yourself!
Thank you for reading… Hayim Oshky.