“Poets convey a timeless message. They are often key witness to historyâ€™s great
political and social changes. Their writings inspire us to build lasting peace in our
minds, to rethink relations between man and nature and to establish humanism
founded on the uniqueness and diversity of peoples. This is a difficult task, requiring
the participation of all, whether in schools, libraries or cultural institutions. To quote
the poet Tagore, the 150th anniversary of whose birth will be celebrated this year, “I
have spent my days in stringing and unstringing my instrument.”Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO
Message for World Poetry Day
21 March 2011
In todayâ€™s world there are unfulfilled aesthetic needs. Poetry can meet this need if its social role of interpersonal communication is recognized and it continues to be the means of arousing and expressing awareness.
Over the past 20 years there has been a strong revival of interest in poetry, with a proliferation of poetic activities in the various Member States and an increase in the number of poets.
It is a social need, which incites young people in particular to return to their roots, and a means whereby they can look into themselves at a time when the outside world is irresistibly luring them away from themselves.
Moreover, as an individual, the poet is taking on a new role as the public becomes more and more appreciative of poetry evenings with readings by the poets themselves.
This shift in society towards the recognition of ancestral values also represents a return to the oral tradition and an acceptance of speech as a means of socializing and structuring the individual.
There is still a tendency in the media and among the general public to refuse to take the poet seriously. Action is needed to free ourselves in order to make this image a thing of the past and to give poetry its rightful place in society.
During its 30th session held in Paris in October-November 1999, UNESCO decided to proclaim 21 March as World Poetry Day.