Photo: Legacyintl
World Poetry Day: When, History, Significance & How to celebrate. Photo: Legacyintl

“Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular”. –Aristotle

Poetry speaks for all and touches our hearts. The poignant art of expression is celebrated worldwide on March 21 as World Poetry Day.

Poetry goes on to show that despite the divisions and disparities, much of what we feel and experience is similar and so is our relation with the nature. On this day every year, poets are honoured, attempts are made at reviving oral traditions and promoting the art of reading and writing poetry.

World Poetry Day: When

World Poetry Day is a holiday which falls on March 21st. The purpose of this holiday is to promote the writing, reading, teaching and publishing of poetry throughout the world. It’s also a day to give recognition to international, national and regional poetry movements. This holiday has been celebrated since its inception in 1999, Holidayscalendar noted.

World Poetry Day: History

Photo: Swanseastudentmedia
Photo: Swanseastudentmedia

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) decided to celebrate World Poetry Day annually on March 21 during its 30th General Conference in Paris in 1999.

It was earlier celebrated in many places in October, which continued even after the UNESCO’s 1999 session. Some countries still celebrate poetry day on October 15, on the birthday of Roman poet Virgil who is famous for his epic poem Aeneid.

World Poetry Day: Significance

Most of the UN member nations now observe this day to converge the art of poetry with other creative art forms like theatre, painting and dancing. Efforts are also made to increase the “visibility of poetry in the media”. According to the UN, this day is devoted to support “linguistic diversity” by means of “poetic expression”. This in turn also gives voices to poems of endangered languages.

On this day, children are introduced to the art of poems. Several government bodies and cultural authorities organize exhibitions of poems and their creators. Many poets hold signing events and recitals. Shows invite poets to talk about their work and spread awareness regarding the form. The day salutes small, independent publishers who believe in unknown poets and bring their work in front of the global audience.

Schools and other educational institutes do hold poetry competitions to observe the World Poetry Day, according to Hindustantimes.

World Poetry Day: How to celebrate

Photo: NCTA
Photo: NCTA

Get your prescription from The Poetry Pharmacy

Curated by William Sieghart, The Poetry Pharmacy is here to soothe any ailment. Whether you're suffering from loneliness, anxiety, a broken heart or a lack of courage, turn the page and read your poem prescription to ease the pain. Take the quiz for any immediate emotional need.

Watch a poetry reading

The power in poetry often lives in a live recital, particularly from its author. Discover new meaning behind metaphors with an extra beat, the tone of voice or flicker of an eye. Watch two of our favourite readings from Jay Bernard and Hera Lindsay Bird below.

Share poetry with people of all ages

Poetry is for people of all ages, and it's not always serious! Poems can be laugh-out-loud hilarious, full of puns and wordplay. Get some recommedations on titles to read with younger poetry fans and watch renowned author Michael Rosen show you how to perform ridiculous rhymes to perfection.

Add some award-winning poetry on your to-read list

With its flexibility, poetry can constantly be revived and refreshed. Take a look through the latest award-winning poetry to discover the newest talent to win the Costa Poetry Award, The Forward Prize and the Dylan Thomas Prize among others.

Start writing your own poetry

Feeling inspired to start writing your own poetry but unsure where to start? Robin Robertson, Poetry Editor at Jonathan Cape and author of the narrative poem The Long Take (shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018) advises to widen your reading list, Penguin noted.

READ MORE: Top 10 Most Anticipated Books of 2021

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