World Poetry Day: From Khalil Gibran to Friedrich Nietzsche, here's what legends had to say about poetry

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Sunday, March 20, 2022, 08:07 PM IST
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“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” — Writer Elizabeth Barrett Browning dedicated this iconic poem to her husband Robert Browning but her famous sonnet could just as easily declare love for poetry itself. We can all do that on World Poetry Day, on March 21.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) founded this day in 1999. Poetry uses rhythms and imagery to elicit emotion and the imagination of the reader. Poetry can rhyme, using what are called meters of long and short syllables.

Some poetry, written in what’s called ‘free verse,’ doesn’t employ rhyme or meters. Poems are broken into stanzas, which are like paragraphs, and can be up to 12 lines long. We believe the first known poem appeared 4,000 years ago in Babylon. Today, countless types of poems are available to enjoy, including haikus, limericks, sonnets, and ballads.

Poetry is a beautiful form of expression. No other type of literature creates such a plethora of feelings and emotions as the abstraction of poetry. The earliest poetry is believed to have surfaced with the “Epic of Gilgamesh” some time during 2000 B.C., but it is likely that poetry existed even before the spread of literacy.

Different types of poetry have trended during different eras, and undergone transformations. From sonnets to rap lyrics, the core purpose of poetry remains the same — to explore the human condition and invoke emotion through words. Poetry resonates with the existential dilemmas of mankind, exhuming ideas from deep within.

Famous quotes about poetry

  • Salman Rushdie

    "A poet’s work to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it from going to sleep."

  • Charles Baudelaire

    “Always be a poet, even in prose.”

  • Friedrich Nietzsche

    “Poets are shameless with their experiences: they exploit them.”

  • William Wordsworth

    “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity.”


    Khalil Gibran

    “Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.”

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