December 7, 2023

Today is World Poetry Day, and if you’re out of the loop about what that means or how to mark the occasion, Euronews Culture have got you covered.

What is World Poetry Day?

Every year, World Poetry Day is celebrated on 21 March with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression. 

The day encourages people to understand the importance of poetic devices and increases the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard. 

World Poetry Day not only honours poets, but aims to revive oral traditions of poetry recitals, as well as promote the reading, writing, and teaching of poetry. It also highlights the convergence between poetry and other arts such as theatre, music, painting, and raises the visibility of poetry in the media.

When was World Poetry Day invented?

World Poetry Day was first adopted by UNESCO in 1999, during its 30th General Conference in Paris. 

The original UNESCO declaration says the day was established to “give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional, and international poetry movements”.

What’s the theme of this year’s World Poetry Day?

The theme for World Poetry Day 2023 is “Always be a poet, even in prose.” 

This famous line of verse by French poet Charles Baudelaire emphasizes the importance of creativity and beauty in all forms of writing, not just poetry. It’s a call to observe and appreciate the role that poetry can have in everyday life.

The UNESCO website also states that for World Poetry Day 2023, their forum “Poetry for Life” highlights the power of poetry in difficult times: “In times of uncertainty and turbulence, we need more than ever the power of poetry to bring people together and to nurture the peace all societies need today. Let’s enhance the Reading and Writing skills among students.”

They also suggest to use the hashtags #WorldPoetryDay and #Poetryforlife to highlight these issues online.

What does one do on World Poetry Day?

On World Poetry Day, people all around the world celebrate poetry through various events, such as poetry readings and performances.

There are many ways to get involved, including sharing your favourite poems – whether your own poetry or the work of others – or attending poetry events. Check out local listings for open mic nights or recitals.

For instance, World Poetry Day 2023 in Berlin takes place at the Kulturbrauerei-Maschinenhaus. Under the patronage of the German UNESCO Commission, five poets from India, Syria and Belarus will come together this evening and read their texts.

Another way to celebrate the day is to support poets and poetry organisations, with book purchases and donations to organisations that support poets and poetry, such as literary magazines and writing centres – like the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin, who are also hosting an event taking place next month (27 April). 

World Poetry Day not only honours poets, but aims to revive oral traditions of poetry recitals, as well as promote the reading and writingUNESCO

Now that we’ve answered some questions, it’s over to you.

Do you know your ballads from your haikus? Think you’re up to speed with Baudelaire and Plath?

Take our quiz to find out how much attention you were really paying in class…



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