World Poetry Day

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“In a constantly evolving world, a world of rapid change and social transformation, poets have a presence alongside civil movements and know how to alert consciences to the world’s injustices as well as encourage appreciation of its beauty. We can also see potential in new technologies and short messages that circulate on social networks, breathing fresh life into poetry, fostering creativity and the sharing of poems and verses that can help us to engage more fully with the world.”

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

-Chinese people chant poems to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival. Photo © UNESCO

Poetry contributes to creative diversity, by questioning anew our use of words and things, our modes of perception and understanding of the world. Through its associations, its metaphors and its own grammar, poetic language is thus conceivably another facet of the dialogue among cultures. Diversity in dialogue, free flow of ideas by word, creativity and innovation. World Poetry Day is an invitation to reflect on the power of language and the full development of each person’s creative abilities.

Every year on 21 March UNESCO celebrates the World Poetry Day. A decision to proclaim 21 March as World Poetry Day was adopted during the UNESCO’s 30th session held in Paris in 1999.

According to the UNESCO’s decision, the main objective of this action is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities. Moreover, this Day is meant to support poetry, return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, promote teaching poetry, restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music, painting and so on, support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art but one.

UNESCO encourages the Member States to take an active part in celebrating the World Poetry Day, at both local and national level, with the active participation of National Commissions, NGOs and the public and private institutions concerned (schools, municipalities, poetic communities, museums, cultural associations, publishing houses, local authorities, etc.).

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