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World Poetry Day

World Poetry Day is a time to appreciate and support poets and poetry around the world. It is held on March 21 each year and is an initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Poetry book with Petals
World Poetry Day, held annually on March 21, is dedicated to poetry worldwide.
World Poetry Day, held annually on March 21, is dedicated to poetry worldwide.
©iStockphoto.com/Anyka

What Do People Do?

Many people around the world celebrate World Poetry Day on or around March 21 each year. Government agencies, educators, community groups and individuals get involved in promoting or participating in the day. World Poetry Day is an opportunity for children to be introduced to poetry in classrooms. It is a time when classrooms are busy with lessons related to poetry, in which students examine poets and learn about different types of poetry.

Poets may be invited to read and share their work to audiences at book stores, cafes, universities and schools. Awards and other forms or recognition are made to honor poets and their work. Exhibitions and poetry evenings are also be held to showcase the work of various poets on or around March 21 to coincide with World Poetry Day.

Public Life

World Poetry Day is an observance and not a public holiday.

Background

In November 1999, UNESCO designated World Poetry Day to be held on March 21 each year.  The organization recognized the important role of poetry in the arts and in cultures throughout the world and over time. It also wanted the day to promote the efforts of small publishers with regard to publishing poetry. The day also focused on promoting a return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, as well as strengthening the association between poetry and other forms of expression, such as dance, music, and painting. The first World Poetry Day was held on March 21, 2000.

Symbols

Various works of poetry and images of poets are featured in various materials and forms of media to promote World Poetry Day each year. Exhibitions and other events are also held to showcase various forms of poetry on this day.

World Poetry Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2010SunMar 21World Poetry DayUnited Nations observance
2011MonMar 21World Poetry DayUnited Nations observance
2012WedMar 21World Poetry DayUnited Nations observance
2013ThuMar 21World Poetry DayUnited Nations observance
2014FriMar 21World Poetry DayUnited Nations observance
2015SatMar 21World Poetry DayUnited Nations observance
2016MonMar 21World Poetry DayUnited Nations observance
2017TueMar 21World Poetry DayUnited Nations observance
2018WedMar 21World Poetry DayUnited Nations observance
2019ThuMar 21World Poetry DayUnited Nations observance
2020SatMar 21World Poetry DayUnited Nations observance

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