March 21st

World Poetry Day -

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Recognized annually on the 21st of March, World Poetry Day is an initiative of UNESCO, dedicated to celebrating and promoting the poetic expression that is treasured by every culture. This day is a call to reflect upon the remarkable power of words and to encourage the global reading, writing, and teaching of poetry.

This day is an homage to the stunning capacity of poetry to encapsulate the full range of human feelings and experiences. World Poetry Day serves not only to honor poets of all times, but also to highlight how poetry can bridge cultural gaps, overcome boundaries and foster peace through dialogue.

History of World Poetry Day

World Poetry Day is observed annually on March 21st. The declaration was made by UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1999, during the proceedings of their 30th General Conference in Paris. The primary objective is to encourage linguistic diversity and endorse the reading, writing, and publishing of poetry.

The decision to allocate an entire day in celebration of poetry seeks to encourage individuals of all ages, including children, educators, and students, to explore, share, and relish the art of poetry. It aims to bolster a more profound understanding and appreciation of this unique form of self-expression.

World Poetry Day is aimed at harnessing the capacity of poetry to bridge the gap between different countries and cultures, fostering greater understanding and ability to alter lives through words. By advocating for poetry around the globe, UNESCO is also championing linguistic diversity through the poetic medium, offering languages on the brink of extinction the chance to find resonance in their communities.

In the year 2000, the inaugural World Poetry Day was observed and applauded worldwide. Since then, the response and participation in this celebration have witnessed a steady rise with an increased number of countries, communities, and individuals organizing poetry-centric events and activities.

World Poetry Day Timeline

Lyric Poetry

Lyric poetry began to flourish in Ancient Greece, attributed mainly to the poet Sappho.

Dante's Divine Comedy

Dante Alighieri, an Italian poet, completed 'The Divine Comedy', an epic poem widely considered as one of the greatest masterpieces of world literature.

Renaissance Era

Renaissance was a period of 'rebirth' in arts, learning, and poetry. It's known for Shakespeare's sonnets and plays.

The Age of Enlightenment

Alexander Pope and other satirical poets came into prominence during this period which was characterized by intellectual and philosophical movements.

Romantic Period

The Romantic period celebrated the individualistic approach to poetry, with talented voices like William Wordsworth, John Keats, and Emily Bronte.

Modernism

Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot are among the poets who spearheaded this style, which broke traditional boundaries of form and subject matter.

Establishment of World Poetry Day

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) declared 21 March as World Poetry Day.

Digital Inclusion

Poetry started being shared on digital platforms and social media on World Poetry Day, attracting a younger audience.

Ideas to Celebrate World Poetry Day

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Host a Poetry Reading

Gather your friends, family, or colleagues and host a poetry reading. Share your favourite poets or your own work, or invite local poets to participate.

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Participate in a Poetry Competition

Join in a poetry competition or create your own. Offer different categories to encourage more participants, such as traditional poems, modern poetry, spoken word, or haikus.

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Poetry Workshop

Consider hosting or participating in a poetry workshop. This can help to improve your poetry writing skills and understand poetic techniques.

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Create a Poetry Collection

Compile your favorite poems or your own works into a collection. Share this online or print it out as a special keepsake.

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Poetry Movie Night

Organize a poetry movie night with films that highlight the beauty of poetry. This can include biopics of famous poets or films that are structured around a beautiful poem.

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Post Poems on Your Social Media

Share your favorite poem with your followers. This not only helps in creating awareness about the World Poetry Day, but also inspires others to read and write poetry.

8 Interesting Facts About Poetry

1.

Oldest Known Poem

The oldest known poem is the 'Epic of Gilgamesh', which originated from ancient Sumer (modern-day Iraq) and was written around 3000 BC on cuneiform clay tablets.

2.

Haiku

Haiku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry that consists of three lines. The first and third lines contain five syllables each, and the second line contains seven. It usually focuses on nature.

3.

Shakespearean Sonnets

Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all of which are written in iambic pentameter and consist of three quatrains followed by a couplet.

4.

Longest Epic Poem

The longest written poem is the Indian 'Mahabharata'. With about 1.8 million words in total, it's roughly ten times the length of 'The Iliad' and 'The Odyssey' combined.

5.

Limericks and Nonsense Verses

Limericks are humorous five-line poems with a specific rhythm pattern. This form was popularised by the English artist, illustrator, musician, author and poet, Edward Lear, in the 19th century.

6.

Epic of Beowulf

Beowulf, an epic poem from England, is one of the oldest surviving pieces of literature in the English language, dating back to between the 8th and the early 11th century.

7.

Oscar Wilde

Famous poet and playwright Oscar Wilde was also known for his sharp wit and flamboyant style. His poem ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’ was inspired by his own two-year imprisonment for gross indecency.

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The Odyssey and The Illiad

One of history's most famous poets, Homer, is known for epic poems 'The Odyssey' and 'The Illiad’ which were considered the greatest works of literature in ancient Greece.

World Poetry Day FAQs

Next World Poetry Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 March 21st Tuesday
2024 March 21st Thursday
2025 March 21st Friday
2026 March 21st Saturday
2027 March 21st Sunday
What is the pattern? Every March 21st

World Poetry Day Word Search

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  • Poetry
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  • Sonnet
  • Rhyme
  • Metaphor
  • Literature