Celebrate World Poetry Day

World Poetry Day is celebrated on 21 March, and was declared by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1999. Its purpose is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world.

Poem is probably one of the earliest literature forms and is regarded highly in both Western and Eastern literature. There are a lot well-known classic poems such as the Greek epics of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, English poet Milton’s Paradise lost, Shakespeare’s Sonnet, Italian poet Dante’s Divine comedy and many more. If the collection of Shijing was the earliest collection of poems in Chinese then Arabic and Hindi all had their share of poetry in early civilisation.

Modern English poets, such as W H Auden, along with W B Yeats, T S Eliot, influenced 20th century poetry writing. Auden is highly regarded for his poetry of ‘stylistic and technical achievement, its engagement with politics, morals, love, and religion, and its variety in tone, form and content’. 

More recently Bob Dylan won his literature Nobel for his poetic songs in 2016.

We have a very diverse poetry collection in our library and a lot customers love reading poetry. There are some well known poets in Australia, particularly unique to its environment, places and people, including Banjo Paterson, Henry Lawson, Judith Wright, Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Dorothy Porter, Bruce Dawe, Lionel Fogarty, Clive James, Les Murray, David Malouf, Thea Astley, to name just a few. There are also some new emerging young poets, such as Elen Van Neerven. Her collection Comfort food move between places and cultures, and express her sense of the life. The poem Comfort food was selected for the HSC English exam in 2017. However the poet was abused by some students on social media afterwards. It only shows there is still a long way to go to understand cultural diversity and human decency. Poetry can bring people together and bridge culture gaps.

Cleo Wade, a political campaigner and Instagram poet, has recently published her first book Heart talk: poetic wisdom for a better life. Indeed, poetry provides not only comfort but wisdom for daily life.

I’d like to finish this up with these beautiful words from Clive James’ My home:

We fade away, but vivid in our eyes

A world is born again that never dies.


PS – Just in case you were wondering the book in our bookface is the poetry novel, The monkey’s mask by Dorothy Porter.