About the event
World Poetry Day was adopted as 21 March by UNESCO in 1999. It is an invitation to reflect on the power of language and the full development of our creative abilities. This day was also created to support linguistic diversity through promoting poetry written in endangered languages around the world.
How to approach it
Poetry is practically a universal art form, so this day gives students a great opportunity to experience languages, cultures and worldviews they have never engaged with before. Look for a diverse mix of poems to get students excited about today. They could be from any location, time period or culture, written by authors with a range of ethnicities, gender or sexual identities, abilities and neurodiversities. You could also investigate different forms of poem, such as the Japanese Haiku or the Arabic Ruba'i. The only important thing is to ensure a diverse mix. Encourage students to analyse the differences between poems, and what they might say about the contexts they’ve been written in, as well as to explore the common features. Feel free to use a range of topics from fun, to serious, political to personal. This is a day to explore the wonderful diversity of human experience.
There are sad poems, happy poems, fast poems and slow poems. Some rhyme and some don't. Some make you cry, others make you laugh. If someone asked you to teach them what a poem was, how would you do it? What poem is your favourite?