"Every poem is unique but each reflects the universal in human experience, the aspiration for creativity that crosses all boundaries and borders, of time as well as space, in the constant affirmation of humanity as a single family."
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO
High school students from Chicago participate in "Louder than a Bomb" - a poetry slam, or contest, where writers present original work without the aid of music or props. UNESCO © Courtesy of Siskel/Jacobs Productions
Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings.
Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures.
In celebrating World Poetry Day, March 21, UNESCO recognizes the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.
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 and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.
The observance of World Poetry Day is also meant to encourage a return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, to promote the teaching of poetry, to restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and to support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art, but one which enables society as a whole to regain and assert its identity.