Monday, March 21, 2011

World Poetry Day 2011

Every year on March 21st, UNESCO celebrates World Poetry Day (WPD). The decision to commemorate WPD was adopted during UNESCO’s 30th session held in Paris in 1999. On the occasion of this year's WPD, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, stated in her annual message:
Poets convey a timeless message. They are often key witness to history’s great political and social changes. Their writings inspire us to build lasting peace in our minds, to rethink relations between man and nature and to establish humanism founded on the uniqueness and diversity of peoples. This is a difficult task, requiring the participation of all, whether in schools, libraries or cultural institutions. To quote the poet Tagore, the 150th anniversary of whose birth will be celebrated this year, "I have spent my days in stringing and unstringing my instrument. [read more].
Writing a few years before Tagore's birth, the great American poet, Walt Whitman, starts the final section of "Song of Myself," published in Leaves of Grass [1855], as follows:
The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me . . . . he
complains of my gab and my loitering.

I too am not a bit tamed . . . . I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
And concludes with these lines:
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Fail to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop some where waiting for you
Note: The Library of Congress has the largest Whitman archives in the world; for further information consult its guide to online resources.

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