Don’t you just love poems? It’s not the shallow chit-chats you find on the streets or the lengthy, monotonous newspaper articles that focus on the negatives… you only read it to complete it, and not because it adds any value to your life (except if it affects you directly, of course).
This brings us to World Poetry Day, celebrated on 21 March, and declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1999. It celebrates one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expressions and identities – the creative spirit of the human mind.
Mainly poetry is a reminder that individuals across the world share the same questions and feelings. It’s the mainstay of oral traditions, and over centuries can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures.
If you think about poetry, don’t think about the words in ink on ancient paper where you can’t make out Arthur or Martha. It’s about that too, but poetry has different forms. You find poetry in song lyrics, in advertisements and even on social media, even some funny memes contain some form of poetry. Also, modern poetry is not necessarily about rhyming words, but more of a creative way to share experiences and feelings.
World Poetry Day is an observance day, and unfortunately not, a public holiday. However, governments, educators, community groups, and individuals get involved in promoting or participating in the day. It’s an opportunity to really introduce children to poetry in classrooms – providing poetry-related lessons, learning about types of poetry, and examining them.
Poets read and share their stories in bookstores, cafes, universities, and schools. There are forms of recognition to honour these poets and their work. Usually, around this time, exhibitions and poetry evenings are also held to showcase various poets’ publishes.
Everyone can relate, really. In school, poems formed part of the syllabus, which didn’t seem to be fun at the time, but you do have a favourite song now, don’t you? A song that has deep meaning and you relate to it somehow. Maybe it’s something that had happened or just your mood that connects you with it.
But, if you are an aesthete (a person who affects great love of art, music, poetry, etc.), we’re inviting you to celebrate the day with us. Whatever you prefer – attending a music festival (especially a genre that is known for poetic lyrics such as country music), or an art exhibition, or by simply visiting Exclusive Books in Sandton City or the Sandton Library in Nelson Mandela Square.
Exclusive Books offers a variety of poetry journals, poetry books and even self-help books on how to write poetry, or how to determine different genres of poetry and enjoying them in a basic way. At the Sandton Library, you’ll obviously find the good-old poetry books dating back to long before we’ve even adopted the appreciation for this unique type of writing. The library is accessible to everyone, and it offers you the opportunity to devour as much as you possibly can – you don’t have to buy every book that you want to read because it’s just there on the rack waiting for you to touch its case.