Sunday, March 20, 2016

Education : It's World Poetry Day !

World Poetry Day 2016
credits: UNESCO

"Shakespeare, who died 400 years ago, wrote in A Midsummer Night's Dream that: “The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling, doth glance from heaven to Earth, from Earth to heaven. And as imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a name”.

Irina Bokova, Director General 

Every year on 21 March, World Poetry Day celebrates one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity. Practiced throughout history – in every culture and on every continent – poetry speaks to our common humanity and our shared values, transforming the simplest of poems into a powerful catalyst for dialogue and peace.

UNESCO first adopted 21 March as World Poetry Day during its 30th General Conference in Paris in 1999, with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard.

"World Poetry Day is the occasion to honour poets, revive oral traditions of poetry recitals, promote the reading, writing and teaching of poetry, foster the convergence between poetry and other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and raise the visibility of poetry in the media.  As poetry continues to bring people together across continents, all are invited to join in."

Poetry Day
credits: Cosei Kawa, illustrator

"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
World Poetry Day is an opportunity for children to be introduced to poetry in at school (all levels). 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. 

Students love poetry! Poetry is a good part or Languages and Literature
So here are some ideas that teachers can include into curriculum.


"Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures."

  • Encourage your students to read, write their own poetry in the classroom. For some ideas, please read my post: It's About Twiter and Poetry (World Poetry Day 2011);
  • Award your students for best and creative poems! Students love 'awards'!
  • Invite to learn from the proverbs of your country, and discover the poetic teachings of others;
  • Organise readings of poems from different cultures, including from pupils' own cultures. 
  • Investigate different forms of poem, such as the Japanese Haiku wich Haiku Poetry Day will be celebrated next 17th April. 
  • Read up about riddles, limericks and sonnets with students to liven up your school libraries;
  • Promote a contest of poetry between different classes at you school or other schools;
  • Invite a young poet to talk about his poetry with your students at school;
  • Go at book stores, metro stations, gardens, and inspire your students to read some poetry. 
  • Promote some exhibitions and poetic events at your school to be held to showcase the work of various 'young poets' (school  students) on or around March 21 to coincide more or less with "World Poetry Day";
  • Support Poetry by inviting your students and their parents buying books of young poets (sometimes, parents ask teachers for some advices to buy books for their chidren);
  • Support poetry in school radio club (if there is one), publish students poems in the school journals, display videos about poets! Bright Star, lovely movie hounoring the poet John Keats by Jane Campion is a captivate digital resource to display in the classroom or at the school library promoting a dialogue on Poetry. Invite some parents  and grandparents to participate and read some poems.
  • Awaken the poet inside of you and impress your students with your creativity, inventiveness and imagination.

credits: Cosei Kawa, illustrator

I write every year about World Poetry Day and the importance of Poetry in our life. Poetry must be a part of children's education for the next citizen generation, women and men.
In adult life, they will be women and men of dialogue. Only dialogue can be established in difference and respect for difference. And some among them will be writers and poets.

All the activities must be adapted to the levels you teach, of course. You will do wonderful I know. Create an attractive image of poetry in your lessons, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art but one. Poetry is a fundamental expression of peace.
In European countries, it's Spring holiday. But we have the time to celebrate poetry after Easter season. The day is symbolic. You can celebrate poetry every day.
"By paying tribute to the men and women whose only instrument is free speech, who imagine and act, UNESCO recognizes in poetry its value as a symbol of the human spirit’s creativity. By giving form and words to that which has none – such as the unfathomable beauty that surrounds us, the immense suffering and misery of the world – poetry contributes to the expansion of our common humanity, helping to increase its strength, solidarity and self-awareness."
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

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