A decision to proclaim 21 March as World Poetry Day was adopted during UNESCO’s 30th session held in Paris in 1999. One of the main objectives of the Day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression.
Never sure if this is a relevant excuse for a blog as it might be seen as reinforcing a manufactured event……. Okay, the UN is a world-wide organisation and looking at the names like UNESCO and WHO, there are huge aims and progress is being made despite the political side-stepping on what should be a ‘family’ progressing the ideals of humanity.
Days can be plucked out of the air, whether they be anniversary of some event, grave or spectacular, commemorating people of national or international importance either to ‘the populace’ or the Arts or Industry or Science. Somewhere there is probably a national Rain Day, maybe national Sun Day, or some such.
I am not against remembering events and anniversaries whether for nations or cliques but I do find it disappointing that World poetry has to have one day a year to be exalted. Perhaps I should use the term ‘celebrated’ instead. That would then give a distinction over what should be listed as celebration or remembrance. I have just had another failure in the language of international communication, it seems..
So here I am, back at first base, or is it square one?
21st March is World Poetry Day.
Do I offer English poets’ poems to overseas visitors or pluck some poets from other nations I have found for UK readers? Choice has to start and finish somewhere so it might as well be this:
I have written previously on Mike Doyle: a poet born in England of Irish parents. He served in the navy and settled in New Zealand. After a few years he moved to a university in Canada and as was still in Canada a year ago, retired, no doubt..
I had pleasure in writing about Lorna Goodison, poet and artist from Jamaica; currently its Poet Laureate. She works in a Canadian (again) University and commutes between the two (sort of) as well as ‘touring’ her Poetry.
Another poet I have written about is the late Guy Butler, born to a family of early English settlers in South Africa. He fought in WW2, definitely in Italy and took a degree in England afterwards. He returned to, and stayed in his country of South Africa, (at a university) writing poetry and collecting oral tradition stories from his area of Karoo.
I have read and written on Australian poets, a young men from Uganda and Zimbabwe,, others with roots in the various Caribbean or Africa countries. Numerous American poets, a sliver of Russian. My problem is I have no foreign language so have dipped into only a very few of the translated poets….but I have read ‘translations’ from the Early English of Beowulf and of Homer et al.; even Villon and some more recent French poet’s translations, so all is not heglected I intend to find more translations but the range is so vast I just do it in a random fashion for fear of searching alphabetically.
But then I find Welsh poets, Scots, regional ( Notts, Devon etc), all have similar strong veins running through their work. There is also a poet or two literally down the road who could have a special day, deserve a special day, for some of their work.
Click the tags on the right if you fancy dipping into a variety of poets and poems I have written about.
So, back to the beginning: 21st March is World Poetry Day
And maybe one of the points for this day is to recognize that whatever nation or tribe we may profess to be, we are all human and have marvellously similar thoughts, emotions and ideals of life and who we might be. Poetry is the art of an oral tradition akin to music (& song) using language, emotion and imagination to tell a ‘story’. Film may well have taken the forefront in this tradition but without this language art form, the need for ever-changing poetry, we would not move forward. Poetry of the inner city, the youth of any country, any place; they are always developing their language. Oral tradition of everyday living is where it is most alive and to be embraced.
Poetry always has its day, everyday. We just don’t always hear it.
So, hurrah, it’s World Poetry Day, again!