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Held every year on 21 March, World Poetry Day celebrates one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity. Practiced throughout history – in every culture and on every continent – poetry speaks to our common humanity and our shared values, transforming the simplest of poems into a powerful catalyst for dialogue and peace.

«Message from Irina Bokova»

Poetry is a window onto the breath-taking diversity of humanity

  Irina Bokova, Director General
Message on World Poetry Day 2017

UNESCO first adopted 21 March as World Poetry Day during its 30th General Conference in Paris in 1999, with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard.

World Poetry Day is the occasion to honour poets, revive oral traditions of poetry recitals, promote the reading, writing and teaching of poetry, foster

the convergence between poetry and other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and raise the visibility of poetry in the media.  As poetry continues to bring people together across continents, all are invited to join in.


  • Nikoloz Baratashvili

200th anniversary of the birth of Nikoloz Baratashvili, poet (1817-1845) (with the support of Azerbaijan) (2017)

  • Molla Panah Vagif

300th anniversary of the birth of Molla Panah Vagif, poet (1717-1797) (with the support of Kazakhstan and Turkey) (2017)

  • Sayyid ‘Imād-ad-Dīn

600th anniversary of the death of Nasimi (Sayyid ‘Imād-ad-Dīn), poet (1369-1417) (with the support of Kazakhstan, Iran (Islamic Republic of) and Turkey) (2017)

Complete list of anniversaries

Poetry as intangible cultural heritage