Every year UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) celebrates March 21st as World Poetry Day. UNESCO adopted March 21st as World Poetry Day during their 30th session in Paris back in 1999. It’s been celebrated each year since.
The goal of World Poetry Day 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and create an attractive image of poetry in the media so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art but one.”
Poetry truly is a universal language and art form and goes far beyond any single language and culture. There is such wonderful poetry to be found from around the world be it English, Urdu, Hindi, Japanese or whatever. The rich diversity of language and culture is what makes reading poetry such a profound experience. To celebrate World Poetry Day this year, I’ve decided to step out and read the works of a variety of poets from around the world. Fortunately, I don’t have to be able to read their native tongues as many great works have been translated into English. May I suggest you do likewise? Put down the Frost, Dickinson or Shakespeare and read some Omar Khayyam, Jean Cocteau or Kobayashi Issa. Celebrate the true spirit of World Poetry Day!
You can learn more about World Poetry Day and how you can participate by visiting the UN’s World Poetry Day page. The Hindu Business Line website also published this interesting take on World Poetry Day. It’s definitely worth the read.