World Poetry Day

March 21 is our day to celebrate poetry in all its forms. UNESCO, who declared this holiday, says about it: “The observance of World Poetry Day is … 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and create an attractive image of poetry in the media, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art, but one which enables society as a whole to regain and assert its identity.”

When some people think of poetry, they remember something that they had to do in school that didn’t seem to relate to real life. Others think of some beautiful words which have moved them deeply. Poetry is the language of the old stories, such as The Iliad, The Odyssey, and The Aeneid, of Psalms in the Hebrew scriptures, the Eddas of the Germanic lands, the old hymns spoken or sung in ancient Egypt. From tales of history to tales of great love to those of battles and warriors, poetry has been around to inspire us for a very long time.

Poetry doesn’t have to be big and important, though. One of my very favorite ones is this simple poem by Shel Silverstein;

Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child,
Listen to the DON’TS
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me-
Anything can happen, child,

So I hope today you tried your hand at writing a poem of your own or curled up with a book of poetry to celebrate.

Though I usually try to find some nice, beautiful picture to go with the blog, I couldn’t resist the old joke about poetry in motion. Enjoy! 🙂

These quotes about poetry are from the Website of the International Business Times.

Robert Frost- “A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.”

William Wordsworth – “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.”

Alice Walker Read – “Poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution, and the raising of consciousness.”

Ezra Pound – “Use no superfluous word, no adjective, which does not reveal something. Don’t use such an expression as ‘dim land of peace.’ It dulls the image. It mixes an abstraction with the concrete. It comes from the writer’s not realizing that the natural object is always the adequate symbol. Go in fear of abstractions.”

Robert Graves – “A perfect poem is impossible. Once it had been written, the world would end.”

Carol Anne Duffy – “You can find poetry in your everyday life, your memory, in what people say on the bus, in the news, or just what’s in your heart.”

Erica Jong – “What makes you a poet is a gift for language, an ability to see into the heart of things, and an ability to deal with important unconscious material. When all these things come together, you’re a poet. But there isn’t one little gimmick that makes you a poet. There isn’t any formula for it.”

W.H. Auden – “A poet must never make a statement simply because it is sounds poetically exciting; he must also believe it to be true.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley – “Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar.”

Henry David Thoreau – “Poetry is the only life got, the only work done, the only pure product and free labor of man, performed only when he has put all the world under his feet, and conquered the last of his foes.”

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