World Poetry Day

World Poetry Day Quick Facts - AU

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2024 Date21 March 2024
2025 Date21 March 2025

World Poetry Day

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World Poetry Day seeks to foster a space for linguistic diversity through poetry and provides an opportunity to recognise the abilities of poets in different regions. Signifying the significant role that poetry plays in arts and cultures worldwide, the observance promotes the expression of identity, the sharing and appreciation of artistic endeavour, and the formation of free speech and creativity. It further raises awareness among the public, media, and governments, about how poetry contributes to social and political dialogue.

UNESCO first declared World Poetry Day in 1999 with the aim to support linguistic diversity and to encourage the endangered oral tradition of reciting poems. In Australia, this has a particular resonance in acknowledging and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander poets, along with Australian poets who have made exemplary contributions to literature and culture. This day acts as an important platform in recognising Australia's poetic heritage as well as highlighting contemporary work, both of which reflect and shape the country's cultural identity.

In observance of World Poetry Day, Australia holds various engagements like poetry readings, discussions, and performances at schools, libraries, and cultural hubs across the nation. The day presents a great opportunity for Australians to delve deep into their rich literary history, whilst simultaneously diving into new poetic voices. School children are encouraged to write and recite poems, fostering a new generation of poets to continue Australia's strong tradition in the art of verse. World Poetry Day falls on the 21st of March each year in Australia.

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Facts about World Poetry Day

  • The oldest love poem in the world was written on a clay tablet during the Sumerian times, which was around 3500 BC.
  • William Shakespeare is most often praised for his work as a playwright however he also wrote several poems. They were just as well received as his plays, some are, The Phoenix and the Turtle, Fear no more the heat o' the sun, and from The Rape of Lucrece.
  • Mahabharata is the longest poem in the world. The Indian epic poem contains about 1.8 million words.
  • Famous modern Australian poets include Judith Wright, Bruce Dawe, Gwen Harwood, and Les Murray. Their works tackle wide-ranging themes such as the environment, war, and the human condition.
  • Australia's biggest poetry event, the Australian Poetry Slam, has been held annually since 2004 and attracts poets from all around the country.

Top things to do in Australia for World Poetry Day

  • Read up about riddles, rhymes, limericks and sonnets and then try to write your very own original poem. Once written, share it on social media as a picture or a note.
  • Go see a poetry slam show. It is often a dramatic performance in which poets recite their poetry. It is considered to be one of the most interesting ways of engaging poetry.
  • Attend the Sydney Writers Festival: This literary event includes a wide range of activities related to literature and poetry, including workshops, lectures, book readings, and discussions with authors and poets
  • Read a book to learn more about Poetry in Australia:
    The Literature of Australia: An Anthology - by Nicholas Jose
    Australian Poetry Since 1788 - by Geoffrey Lehmann and Robert Gray

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