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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 expressions and identity.
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.
Poetry has been an important form of artistic expression for centuries, and continues to captivate readers and writers alike. Poems can be a powerful tool for communication, as it allows us to express a wide range of emotions, from love and happiness to sadness and despair. We can express complex emotions and ideas in a way that is both beautiful and meaningful.
Did you think science doesn’t go together with poetry? Writing poems is also a way to connect with others. Whether you are reading or writing poetry, it can bring people together and create a sense of community. That is why, just recently at our team building day, we were asked to describe our team and what we do, and some of our colleagues came up with little poems. This was even more impressive as they only had 20 minutes to prepare it!
So, here is an example:
Mirror, mirror on the wall Oh dear, we’re always on call.
Our hearts beat for science and we built a great alliance.
Conferences, courses or visitors alike Make us feel like Harry Potter on a high.
We’re all for bringing scientists together, For knowledge exchange that lasts forever.
Trainer, speaker, participant or a sponsor, We will make the fun last longer.
Budget and resources are often tight Rest assured, we give it a real fight.
Our sport might be walking on hot coals, Surely with teamwork – we’ll reach all our goals.
If you are inspired by this, here are some ideas on how you could celebrate World Poetry Day:
Read a poem: take some time today to read a poem that speaks to you. It could be something by a favorite poet, or something new that you’ve never read before.
Write a poem: you don’t have to be a professional poet to write a poem. Take a few minutes to jot down some thoughts or feelings, and see where they take you. And if you are a scientist, how about writing a short poem to say how fun your team is and how much you enjoy working together in the lab? Or a poem on transcription and chromatin or multicell modelling?
Share a poem: Share a favorite poem with a friend or family member. You could even post it on social media to spread the love of poetry.
Attend a poetry reading: Check out your local community events calendar to see if there are any poetry readings or open mic nights happening in your area.
Support a poet: If you have a favourite poet, consider purchasing one of their books or attending one of their events. Supporting artists is an important way to help ensure that their work continues to be recognized and appreciated.
So, on World poetry Day, let’s take a moment to appreciate the beauty and power of poetry. Whether you are a lifelong fan of poetry or just discovering it for the first time, there is something special about this art from that can speak to us all.