World Poetry Day

World Poetry Day is on 21 March, and was declared by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1999. The purpose of the day is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world and, as the UNESCO session declaring the day says, to “give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional and international poetry movements”.

It was generally celebrated in October, sometimes on the 5th, but in the latter part of the 20th Century the world community celebrated it on 15 October, the birthday of Virgil, the Roman epic poet and poet laureate under Augustus. The tradition to keep an October date for national or international poetry day celebrations still holds in many countries. It is still 5 October in the UK. Alternatively, a different October or even November date is celebrated.

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