World Poetry Day

World Poetry Day

March 21st is World Poetry Day, so don’t miss out on your chance to celebrate all things poetic with the rest of the planet!

In 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation – or UNESCO for short – decided to establish an event that would recognize the impact poetry has had on the arts and cultural life throughout human history, and so, in 2000, the first World Poetry Day took place!

It’s a time to support poets, who often work very hard with very little recognition, but is also a time to appreciate poetry from around the world.

The main aims of World Poetry Day are:

  • To promote the teaching of poetry
  • To foster links between poetry and other art forms such as dance, music, painting etc.
  • To support small publishers who help circulate new poetry.
  • To return to the oral tradition of reciting poetry aloud.
  • To offer endangered languages an opportunity to be heard.
  • To support linguistic diversity through poetic expression.
  • To develop an attractive public image of poetry in the world media.

Many organizations such as schools, libraries, book stores, and cafés will host special events with visiting poets, recitals and book signings, but if you can’t make it to any events near you, here are some ideas of how you can celebrate World Poetry Day, based on the main aims above!

  1. Choose a favorite poem, and create a poster that could go in a classroom to teach people about that poem. Think about: Who wrote it? Where and When is it from? What style of poem is it? Does it have a meaning? How does it make you feel?
  2. Find a piece of art that inspires you – it could be classical or modern; painting, sculpture, or even a video of dance or gymnastics. Write a poem about that piece of art – you could describe what you see, write about how it makes you feel, or even invent a story about it!
  3. Do you have a favorite poem, or book of poetry? Why not write a thank you not to the publisher to tell them how much you like it and why!
  4. Choose a poem to read out loud – it could be one you have written, or one that someone else has written. You don’t have to learn it off by heart, but you do need to practice reading it out loud. There are some tips here. Now you can invite an audience to watch you recite your poem or, even better, record a video of yourself to put on YouTube, then you can post it to all your friends and family online!
  5. Wikipedia has a list of ‘endangered languages’ here. These are languages that are dying out because not many people still speak them. See if you can find examples of poetry or songs in these languages using the internet!
  6. ‘Linguistic diversity’ means the different ways language can be used. This can be because people are from different places, or different times. Can you imagine what people would have thought about ‘text language’ 50 years ago? Try and write a poem using the language you use in texts or computer games! Check out what I did in the poem ‘Brody The Emoticon’!
  7. Write an article for the front cover of an imaginary newspaper about poetry! You can add pictures and adverts too if you like, just like a real newspaper! If you have a website, you could even publish a picture of your front cover online for the whole world media to see!

Happy World Poetry Day!