World Poetry Day 2023: When is it and what events are taking place?
Poetry first originated as a form of expression 4,000 years ago in Babylon, but nowadays countless forms of poems are available for everyone to enjoy.
Poetry uses imagery and rhythm as a way to tell stories and evoke the imagination of the reader.
It can be found in the history of every nation, and brings us together under shared values and common humanity — which is surely worthy of celebration.
Thankfully, World Poetry Day does just that.
Here’s all you need to know about it.
What is World Poetry Day?
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) first adopted World Poetry Day during its 30th General Conference in Paris in 1999. This was with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard.
World Poetry Day honours poets; revives oral traditions of poetry recitals; promotes the reading, writing and teaching of poetry; fosters the convergence between poetry and other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting; and raises the visibility of poetry in the media.
How to take part in World Poetry Day
As poetry continues to bring people together across continents, all are invited to join in.
Why not sign up for Poem-a-Day? This will deliver a new poem to your inbox every day, with poems picked by a different guest editor each month.
Or, of course, you could try writing a poem of your own to celebrate World Poetry Day.
When is World Poetry Day?
Held every year on March 21, World Poetry Day celebrates one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity.
Practised throughout history — in every culture and on every continent — even the simplest of poems can be a powerful catalyst for dialogue and peace.
What other days celebrate poetry?
In the UK, National Poetry Day is the annual mass celebration which encourages everyone to make, experience and share poetry with family and friends.
This year, it is taking place on Thursday, October 5, 2023 and the theme is Refuge.
National Poetry Day involves thousands of amazing events across the UK, all celebrating poetry’s power to bring people together.
As the art form’s most visible moment, it showcases the ways in which poetry adds value to society.
The National Literacy Trust said 66.5 per cent of children and young people agreed that writing poetry made them feel better during lockdown. It said poetry was an important vehicle to explore individual identity and the identity of others.
The London organisation Poet in the City helps people and places to tell their stories. It also aims to provide access to challenging ideas, attract radically new audiences, effect social and behavioural change, and create awe-inspiring large-scale entertainment.
From poetry in libraries to arts centres, car parks to community venues and festivals to music halls, it showcases the work of poets who can enlarge people’s worlds.