Why World Poetry Day?

Each year on 21 March, we celebrate World Poetry Day. 

“One of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity, poetry speaks to our common humanity and our shared values, transforming the simplest of poems into a powerful catalyst for dialogue and peace. First adopted by UNESCO during its 30th General Conference in Paris in 1999, World Poetry Day is an 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.”

—UNESCO

“Arranged in words, coloured with images, struck with the right meter, the power of poetry has no match. As an  intimate form of expression  that  opens doors to others, poetry enriches the dialogue that catalyses  all  human progress, and is more necessary than ever in turbulent times.”

—Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, on the occasion of 2022 World Poetry Day

Read “The Many Voices Word Karaoke,” a San Mateo County youth World Poetry Day poem