World Poetry Day

World Poetry Day Quick Facts - CA

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2024 DateMarch 21, 2024
2025 DateMarch 21, 2025

World Poetry Day

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World Poetry Day History

World Poetry Day is devoted to celebrating and promoting poetry in all its forms. This day is an opportunity to appreciate and explore the in-depth language of poems, admiration of artistic creativity, and the significance of vocal traditions. It aims to encourage young people and adults alike to discover the joy in verbal expression, while promoting the teaching of poetry in schools, among other venues.

World Poetry Day was established in 1999 by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) with the objective of supporting linguistic diversity through poetry and to offer endangered languages an opportunity to be heard. For Canadians, poetry holds a significant place in the cultural landscape, carrying the power to explore diverse themes of identity, heritage, and life. The country is home to several renowned poets like Robert Service, Leonard Cohen, and Louise Glück, who are celebrated for their imaginative expression of the human condition, cementing poetry's vital role in Canada's rich literary tradition.

In Canada, World Poetry Day is commemorated with a wide array of activities designed to bring poetry into the public eye. These activities range from poetry readings and public performances to special broadcasts and publications showcasing the works of Canadian poets, alongside workshops at schools and libraries aimed to stimulate interest and participation in poetry. Special events, online and offline, pay homage to the contribution of poetry in the culture and history of Canada. Canada observes World Poetry Day takes place each year on March 21, reflecting the unity in diversity and shared love for language and verses around the globe.

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.
  • A Canadian poet Christian Bök has been known for his experimental work, and one of his poems is so unique that it can survive even in outer space. The poem's letters are encoded into the sequence of a DNA strand which is then implanted into a bacterium, making it a great talking point during World Poetry Day.
  • Ecopoetry, which explores the relationship between humans and nature through the lens of ecological consciousness, also has strong roots in Canadian poetry landscape. Poets like Tim Lilburn, Don McKay, and Robert Bringhurst have made significant contributions in this genre.

Top things to do in Canada 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.
  • Visit the House of Anansi Press in Toronto: It's devoted to publishing culturally significant work, including poetry.
  • Read a book to learn more about Poetry in Canada:
    Canadian Poetry from World War I: An Anthology - by Joel Baetz
    Canadian Poetry: The Modern Era - by John Newlove

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