Not content with waiting two weeks for April's National Poetry Month? We have good news: the governing body that designates random, imaginary holidays on Mondays throughout the year, in an effort to inject whimsy and caprice into an otherwise drab day, has decreed that today is World Poetry Day!
BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) started World Poetry Day seventeen years ago. According to UNESCO's web site, "One of the main objectives of the Day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities."
— UNESCO (@UNESCO) March 21, 2016
Austrian coffee chain Julius Meinl allows its customers to pay in poems on this day. How many couplets for a cappuccino? Will my epic translation of Gilgamesh into traditional Klingon verse net me a fat-free latte?
World Poetry Day, according to UNESCO, seeks to promote teaching and the cultural significance of poetry so that it "will no longer be considered an outdated form of art, but one which enables society as a whole to regain and assert its identity."
If you're scrambling to find a relevant poem for your students on this day, here are some of your humble Digital Editor's favorites:
- "Occasional Poem" by Jacqueline Woodson
- "Kindness" by Naomi Shihab Nye
- "Cartoon Physics, part 1" by Nick Flynn
- "Theme for English B" by Langston Hughes
And don't worry if you don't have a lesson plan for this day. April 1 marks the beginning of National Poetry Month, the 30-day celebration by the Academy of American Poets. Learn more about that here. Enjoy the day!