World Poetry Day – Promoting the unique role of poetry in literature

March 21 each year is commemorated as World Poetry Day. A decision to proclaim the 21st March as World Poetry Day was adopted during the 30and session of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) conference, held in Paris, France, in 1999.

One of the main objectives of the day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expressions and to offer endangered languages ​​the opportunity to be heard within their respective communities. In celebrating World Poetry Day, UNESCO recognizes the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human spirit.

The main purpose or one of the main purposes of World Poetry Day is to draw attention to the importance of poetry in the preservation of ancient languages, in human growth in general and in raising awareness world.

Poetry – a literary genre – which is a collection of series of poems, can be defined as a literary work in which the expression of feelings and ideas is intensified through the use of a distinctive style and rhythm. It is a form of literature that uses the aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language such as phonesthesis, sound symbolism and meter, to evoke meanings in addition to or instead of prosaic ostensible meaning.

Poetry has a long history or lineage, dating back to the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh. Early poems evolved from folk songs such as the Chinese Shijing, or from a need to tell oral epics. Ancient attempts to define poetry focused on the uses of the spoken word in rhetoric, drama, song, and comedy.

Later attempts have focused primarily on features similar to repetition, verse form, and rhyme, as well as the aesthetics that distinguish poetry from more objectively informative and prosaic forms of writing.

Since the middle of the 20th century, poetry has sometimes been considered more generally as a fundamental creative act that employs language. Poetry uses forms and conventions to suggest a differential interpretation of words or to evoke emotional responses.

In poetic presentation, devices including assonance, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and rhythm are sometimes used to achieve musical or incantatory effects. The use of ambiguity, symbolism, irony or sarcasm and other stylistic elements of poetic diction invariably leaves a poem open to multiple interpretations.

Similarly, figures of speech to include metaphor, simile and metonymy create resonance between otherwise disparate images – a layering of meanings, forming previously unperceived connections.

Some types of poetry are not unrelated to particular cultures and genres and respond to the characteristics of the language in which the poet is writing. Most modern poetry reflects a critique of poetic tradition, playing with and testing, among other things, the principle of euphony, sometimes completely renouncing rhyme or imposed rhythm. Perhaps, in today’s increasingly globalized world, poets often adapt forms, styles, and techniques from various cultures and languages.

Due to its nature of emphasizing linguistic form rather than using language only for content, poetry seems so difficult to translate from one language to another. A possible example of this is the Hebrew Psalms, where beauty is found more in the balance of ideas than in specific vocabulary.

In most poems, it is the connotations and the weight of the words that are most important. Such attributes can be difficult to interpret, causing different readers to hear or understand a particular piece of poetry differently. Although there are logical interpretations, the truth is that there can never be a definitive or specific interpretation attached to a particular poem.

Until now, by thoroughly examining the use of poetry in various artistic fields or in works of fiction such as folk tales, advertising, music, short stories, children’s literature, drama or play drama, prose, etc., anyone can easily say that its significance in human and societal development cannot be overstated.

Poetry has indeed created a huge positive impact on literature and has contributed immensely to the promotion of languages, cultures and education in general. It could therefore be considered as one of the main recipes responsible for the happiness of living of humanity.

There is no doubt that poetry has succeeded in awakening in man the quest to learn or discover as well as his interest in educating, entertaining or informing his immediate society through the use of any language within his reach. Apparently, the use of sarcasm or irony in poetic presentations is one of the criteria that indicate how far poetry can go while conveying messages, regardless of its content.

As Nigeria joins the global community in marking World Poetry Day 2022, Nigerians are urged to strive to promote the unique role of poetry in literature by understanding that poetry reaffirms our common humanity revealing to us that people – all over the world – share the same questions and feelings.

Therefore, we must understand that poetry is the pillar of the oral tradition; and over the centuries, can communicate or convey the deepest values ​​of various cultures. Above all, we should always note that poetry is the only literary genre that saves time, space as well as energy, and can be written or expressed in any language the writer pleases. .

In this context, all relevant stakeholders such as parents, guardians, counselors and teachers, among others, must contribute vigorously to ensure that the unique art of poetry is no longer considered a form of literature. outdated, but as an opportunity for any society to rediscover and affirm its true identity.

It should be noted that it is better late than never, given the expected impact of this noble crusade.

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