In 1999 the UN announced that March 21 would now be known as World Poetry Day. This was in an attempt to give a fresh perspective of international poetry movements with the premise “that poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings.”
One of the main goals of the day is to “support linguistic diversity through poetic expression,” encouraging youth and adults to be heard within their communities. This can be done through the traditional poetry recitals or through more contemporary arts such as online media, dance and painting. As a tutor in Toronto, I feel that we need to show the young how fun and meaningful the art of poetry can be, so that it isn’t considered an outdated art form, but a comfortable medium where individuals can show their identities and speak about topics they are passionate about.
A great example of this is shown through Fujiwara Dance Inventions, a group of Toronto based dancers. They have taken a traditional poem by Christian Bok and have created a dance production. In Bok’s Eunoia, each chapter is constrained to the use of a single vowel, yet he still creates the illusion of various fascinating worlds. In the dance adaptation the dances also follow these formal rules which allows them to transform the choreography. “The result is a witty and absorbing monument to human expression.”
Although it is important to show our children the modern creativity of poetry, they have to know the influences and the original work in order to fully understand the new interpretations. Here’s a list of my favourite influential poets of the Twentieth Century that everyone, not just youth, should own a copy of their works.
- Edgar Allan Poe
- William Shakespeare
- Oscar Wilde
- Sylvia Plath
- Seamus Heaney
- Dylan Thomas
As it is World Poetry Day why not head to a bookstore, pick up a copy, and immerse your family in the beautiful world of poetry.
On a side note, if you want your child to become a whizz at grammar, spelling and linguistics, we offer various after school tutoring lessons in Toronto that will help your kids read complicated works like Shakespeare much easier.