On World Day, UNESCO chief hails role of poetry as 'fundamental expression of peace'
“Poetry is the universal human song, expressing the aspiration of every woman and man to apprehend the world and share this understanding with others, through the arrangement of words in rhythm and meter,” Director-General Irina Bokova said in her message for the Day.
“There may be nothing more delicate than a poem and, yet, it expresses all of the power of the human mind, and so there is nothing more resilient.”
UNESCO proclaimed 21 March as World Poetry Day in 1999, with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and offering endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.
The Day is also meant to support poetry, return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, promote its teaching, restore a dialogue with other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media so that the art will no longer be considered an outdated form.
Citing renowned Scottish poet, John Burnside, Ms. Bokova noted that the power of poetry lay in its ability “to inspire our thoughts with something more inventive than dismay” while reflecting the universal in human experience.
“Poetry is intimate expression that opens doors to others, enriching the dialogue that catalyses all human progress, weaving cultures together and reminding all people of the destiny they hold in common,” she continued. “In this way, poetry is a fundamental expression of peace.”