UNESCO World Poetry Day Message 2007

Poetry is as varied and fluctuating as the present. It is not graven in stone, but is where relationships with the world and with meaning, culture and language are constantly created and re-created.

Each year, World Poetry Day, together with many poetry events, fairs and festivals, affords an opportunity for dialogue and reflection that may help to bring poetry in from the cold.

The particularity of poetry that must be recognized is that it does not convey clear words that can be instantly grasped, but constructs new, unprecedented forms of language that owe nothing to common codes.

Poetry, because it offers a multitude of ways and actual forms of writing, is therefore an area of research and experience that enables the human condition to be reviewed in its entirety. This ultimate reappraisal of the use of language makes for a universal critical reflection on words, genres and categories, the whole range of that which is at all translatable. In doing so it designs the contours of possible forms of dialogue among cultures, histories and memories.

Ensuring the promotion and safeguarding of these forms of exchange and transfer – such could be the focus of this world day which, placed at the service of our creative diversity, can I hope nurture and renew the ability of each and everyone of us to understand the cultural plurality of the world.

UNESCO, hand in hand with poets and poetry readers, makes common cause today with all those who detect inventiveness in language and propose new art forms, venturing to chart new genealogies that may construct anew the interconnections, challenges and vocabularies that underpin our modernity.


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Kōichirō Matsuura

Kōichirō Matsuura served as the Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) from 1999 to 2009.

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