World Poetry Day

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World Poetry Day is celebrated on 21 March, and was declared by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1999, "with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard".

It was generally celebrated in October, but in the 20th century the world community celebrated it on the 15th, 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.


  • Speaking to “Bitter Winter” on World Poetry Day, [Uyghur poet Aziz Isa] Elkun urged the world to remember the more than five hundred Uyghur poets sentenced to lengthy jail terms for their “crime of writing poems,” and the “severe extrajudicial persecution endured by Uyghur poets at the hands of the Chinese [Communist Party] government.” “Their only crime was writing poems in their God-given mother language, Uyghur,” he said.