World Poetry Day takes place on the 21st March, which has occurred every year since 1999. The day was started up by the UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) aiming to give fresh recognition to national, regional and international poetry movements.
The purpose of World Poetry Day is to promote the reading, writing, and teaching of poetry throughout the world. The day was generally celebrated on the 5th October but in some countries, this has changed. The UK still celebrates Poetry Day on the 5th October, but the united World Poetry Day takes place on the 21st March.
Poetry has a long history, dating back to the Sumerian 'Epic of Gilgamesh', although the art of poetry writing has been lost over the years. Early poems first evolved from folk songs such as the Chinese Shijingm, many poets have tried to 'clean up' poetry over the years and define it. Aristotle's Poetics focused on the uses of speech in rhetoric, drama, song, and comedy. Poetry later concentrated on features like repetition and rhyme. From the mid 20th century, poetry has been regarded as a creative act employing language.
We think that World Poetry Day should be used to celebrate some of the world's most famous poets. Whom many consider to be the world's most famous is usually very dependent on the country within which they reside in. Let's consider some of the most famous within the UK.
William Wordsworth is one of the most recognised poets in the UK and regarded to be one of the pioneers in the 'romantic age' of English Literature and left a lasting impact on literacy work and developments. Wordsworth also served as the Poet Laureate of Britain from 1843 to 1850, the year he died.
Lord Byron is another prolific poet and is best known for his work 'Don Juan'. He was very active in politics and resented by his competitors due to his poetry works. He is one of Britain's most lauded poets although his personal life was marked with scandals.
Of course, William Shakespeare is often described as the greatest literary giant that ever walked the planet. This year is believed to be Shakespeare's 450th birthday so there is bound to be celebrations in April!
Next week, we will be running a Facebook competition asking you to choose your favourite poet in celebration of World Poetry Day. Pop by and tell us your favourite poet as well as giving yourself the opportunity to win our competition.