Let's Celebrate World Poetry Day
World Poetry Day looks to celebrate ‘with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard’ as declared by UNESCO - the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation - in 1999.
Some classic poets include William Shakespeare, John Keats, Lord Byron (a very interesting poet, I must say), Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Wilfred Owen (who has some powerful reads). At least at one stage in your life, you have to give some of their poetry a read. Though it may seem to make absolutely no sense initially, being able to delve into the meaning of each line - YouTube can help make sense of each line - will result in you completing a poem full of emotion. It may be awe, it may be anger or sadness. Whatever the feeling, let yourself embrace it. Poetry is usually written with meanings personal to the poet and to be able to have access to their emotions and feelings is something truly unique and special.
And on that note, how can you celebrate World Poetry Day? Read a poem. Or, write a poem. Or, share a poem. Or all of the above! I’d say today is definitely the day to take a leap of faith and have a go at reading a poem - particularly if you’ve never had a great interest in poetry. I recall never truly appreciating poetry until studying them at GCSE level where we unpicked the meaning behind each line, and suddenly I had a love for poetry which I did not know was possible.
'Try and fall in love with language again. Play with pace and structure: full rhymes with no punctuation, one after another, can pick up speed quite quickly to build tension, or show how trapped somebody is feeling – it’s easy to get stuck inside a rhyme, right? Blank space, indentations and one line words can slow things right down.
Always sound your work out: rehearse and read aloud… Remind yourself that poems need not to rhyme, have a metre or be in set verse – there are no rules for poetry so don't box yourself into them.’
Visit your local library or bookshop, take poetry into the workplace or school and share your thoughts! With its flexibility, poetry is constantly being revived and refreshed. To discover poetry by winners of Awards such as the Costa Poetry Award, Forward Prize and Dylan Thomas Prize, look out for work by: J.O. Morgan, Kayo Chingonyi, Ysra Daley-Ward, Ocean Vuong, Alice Oswald and Liz Berry. Poetry readings can be particularly powerful - with many able to be found on platforms such as Youtube. Check out Jay Bernard or Hera Lindsay Bird for some inspiration.
Here’s to the start, or a development, to all our journeys in poetry.