Happy World Poetry Day!

Photo by Flickr User Jacob Earl licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Photo by Flickr User Jacob Earl licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Apparently, today is World Poetry Day. Who knew?

Although typically celebrated in October, March 21 was declared World Poetry Day by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1999. The purpose of the holiday is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry across the globe.

I figured the best way to celebrate World Poetry Day would be to not only read some poetry, but to share some of my favorite poems with you. Most are contemporary because that’s the kind of poetry I tend to enjoy the most, but there are some more modern poems as well.

Here are just a handful:

Jeffrey McDaniel’s The Quiet World

McDaniel is an amazing contemporary poet. His poems are sharp, topical, beautiful, and biting. The first time I read “The Quiet World” I was stunned into silence. You’ll only appreciate the irony of that reaction after you’ve read the poem.

Warsan Shire’s “For Women Who Are Difficult to Love”

– This is actually a spoken word video, but it is absolutely lovely. Warsan Shire, who’s London’s first Young Poet Laureate, is arguably the best poet writing today. At only 25, she has managed to write some of the most affecting poetry I’ve ever read. Her poems are devoid of clichés and destroy every previous notion you held about what poetry could do. Please listen to the video and fall in love with her hauntingly beautiful words.

Ezra Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro”

– Say what you will about Pound as a person, but the man could craft some pretty great image-heavy poems. This poem in particular has stuck with me since I read it in my American Literature II class during my sophomore year in college. The poem may be extremely short, but it’s masterfully and carefully written. Pound’s imagery lands and settles under the skin which not many writers today can boast.

I hope you celebrate World Poetry Day in anyway you choose. You could read/listen to the poems I linked to above or read some of your favorites (or both !), but I hope you lend at least a few minutes to a poem today.

It doesn’t take long to swallow up a few stanzas, but it may make your world infinitely brighter.

*        *        *

Did you read the poems I linked to? What did you think of them? What are some of your favorite poems or poets? Let me know in the comments!

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