World Poetry Day: From Script To Recitals...

From UNESCO's purpose to promote the reading, writing, publishing, and teaching of poetry throughout the world to the shift of the poetry scenario in Mumbai, World Poetry Day is a vital day for misunderstood creative art

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The origin of 'World Poetry Day'

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) back in 1999 declared March 21 to be celebrated as 'World Poetry Day'. It was generally celebrated in October, but in the latter part of 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 purpose of celebrating poetry

The purpose according to UNESCO was to promote the reading, writing, publishing, and teaching of poetry throughout the world and, as the original UNESCO declaration says, to "give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional and international poetry movements".


Is poetry boring to the new generation?

In 2018, this day seems to hold more significance than ever as the poetry community is growing in numbers and the true essence of poetic literature is on the rise. But poetry for this speed-dating world seems to be "boring" in simple language. So how do you attract eyeballs when they aren't interested in reading? Here's where recitals come into play.  


The shift from script to recitals

The journey between reading poetry and listening to a recital is the journey between the ages. The age where paperbacks and hardcovers have been replaced by Kindle, classic, written poetry has seen a slight shift with recitals. Poets who want their art to flourish and want to reach a larger audience have understood that poetry can't be limited to script. With expressions, change of tone, when a poet recites his/her work in front of an audience, the impact is felt slightly at a higher intensity. The art of conveying a message by expressing your feelings through a recital could see more people engage with recitals. 


Change in the poetry scenario in Mumbai

Of course it differs from person to person, but the poetry scenario in Mumbai off-late has seen a progressive change with open mic events and recitals being hosted on multiple fronts which encourage young, budding poets to write, analyse and recite their work. Poetry clubs, slam poetry competitions, and recital sessions had a different frame back in the day but the influx of creativity by the younger generation has seen slam poetry grow on a large scale in the city. A community has been built around poetry to address societal issues and discuss emotions which are slightly clouded in the social media sky.

Venues like Gostana and The Cuckoo Club (both in Bandra) host open mic poetry events on a regular basis and provide a platform for young poets to showcase their art. 


The role the audience plays in the life of a poet

For every writer, reciting his/her work is probably the most tricky step as every writer might not necessarily be a good orator. Creating something as beautiful as poetry and stepping up on a platform to present that creativity is a dream-come-true for a poet. This dream does depend on the reception one gets from the crowd, and coming back to where I mentioned the new-age generation considers poetry to be "boring", for an artist, nothing hurts more than his/her art to be misunderstood and ridiculed. There's no frame or form for creativity and this concept needs acceptance. It takes a lot of courage to step up on stage and showcase creative work, so it does matter for the recipient to keep an open mind and support creativity and art.

Poetry is magic in the form of words which moves people and leaves you with emotions which are 100 per cent authentic and we as human beings, as socially dependent we are, poetry opens up that doorway to emotional acceptance. 

Read, write and recite — Happy World Poetry Day

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