Someone great once said that words are humans’ greatest weapons, and to really appreciate the value behind this saying, National Today is all set to celebrate Great Poetry Reading Day on April 28. Poetry, being a branch of literature, lends us a medium to convey thoughts and feelings by weaving words into simplistic and/or intricate designs using methods like rhyme, meter, metaphors, personification, etc. Much like prose, poetry, too, tells a story and, in this case, it can do so simply by using the number of words in a row or the placement of punctuation in a certain manner. In the old days, if you were a poet, poetry was a means of settling scores with your competitor and reaching new heights of fame. Kings and queens would appoint a poet in their court to sing the ruler’s praises and degrade their enemies.
History of Great Poetry Reading Day
While it is not clear when Great Poetry Reading Day was first celebrated, it is still quite the celebrated occasion as many honor the day by holding and participating in poetry reading events like open mic nights. Poetry, at its most basic, is considered one of the oldest art forms — even predating literacy. In ancient times, it was a way of conveying historical facts, culture, traditions, etc. Because poetry has certain structures to it, the art form is easier to memorize and remember; thereby, aiding in message transmission for generation after generation. Literary prose, on the other hand, came much later on as it not only required literacy but also presented ideas in complex text forms.
From being recorded on stones, monoliths, or simply in human memory, poetry used selected words, rhymes, meanings, and meter in a set structure. A brief timeline of poetry forms shows that after being memorized, around 2500–2000 B.C., poetry was being written in epic forms, which are long texts of poetry that convey a story. Proceeding from there, poetry was also seen in ballads starting from 11–7 B.C. Moving a little further into the future, sonnets were being produced in the 13th century, with restoration and modern poetry arriving four centuries later.
The “Epic of Gilgamesh” is thought to be the oldest recorded form of poetry. It was written in 2100 B.C. on tablets that were then used on city walls. Other ancient epics include India’s “Mahabharata” and “Ramayana” (both of which form an important part of Indian mythology) and the Greek “Iliad” and “Odyssey” by Homer. Just like Indian mythology is represented in epic poetry forms, other religions also employ poetry to form hymns and chants to be recited during mass public gatherings. As the years passed by, poetry was also being used to either express oneself or fight against oppression. In the modern day and age of the internet, Instagram poets have become a genre unto themselves. Many unestablished or amateur poets use the platform to publish their poems in visual forms.
Great Poetry Reading Day timeline
Aryans’ sacrificial hymns are put into “Rigveda,” and it becomes the earliest form of Sanskrit literature.
“Shijing,” China’s first anthology of poetry is recorded and compiled.
Sonnets, written by Shakespeare 10 years prior, are finally published and made available to the public.
Sylvia Plath publishes “The Colossus and Other Poems,” her first collection of poems.
Great Poetry Reading Day FAQs
What is it called when you read poetry?
A poetry reading is a public oral recitation or performance of poetry.
Who is India's national poet?
Valmiki, Jhaverchand Meghani, Vedavyasa, Kalidasa, Tulsidas, Maithili Sharan Gupt, Rabindranath Tagore, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Subramanya Bharathi, Kuvempu, M. Govinda Pai, G.S. Shivarudrappa, Pradeep, Sohan Lal Dwivedi
How do we celebrate Poetry Month?
- Write poetry each day.
- Staged: Act out a poem.
- Poetry By Heart: Memorize a poem.
- Become a Romantic: Write seasonal poetry.
- Poiku: Create a Pop Haiku (with examples)
- Try performance poetry!
- Explore a new form!
- Practice Poetic Gift Giving Give a poem as a gift to friends and family.
How To Celebrate Great Poetry Reading Day
Poetry is a great way of getting into a story while reading structured verses. Feeling the impact of words through the structure or in their rhymes brings about a musical quality. Appreciate the art form by indulging in it.
Put on your literary cap and try your hand at poetry! You can write about anything, a memorable event in your life, your hopes for the future, or something even as mundane as a peach! Yep, there are poems about peaches, too, and now, you can add yours to the collection of poems praising the amazing qualities of the fruit.
Participate in a poetry event
If you are still unsure about doing any of the above, you can dip your toes into a poetry event happening online or offline. Watch and listen to other people’s recitations and then decide if it is for you.
5 Facts About Muhammad Iqbal That Will Blow Your Mind
Brains behind Pakistan
Muhammad Iqbal, a renowned poet and philosopher, had the idea of building a separate country for Muslims as they constantly faced discrimination in India.
Persian over Urdu
Muhammad Iqbal’s preferred language for his poetic works was Persian instead of Urdu as he believed the latter provided better articulation.
German street named after him
Iqbal, who also went to Germany to complete his Ph.D. studies, has a street named after him in Heidelberg, and it reads, Iqbal Ufer’.
Title of Sir
Iqbal was honored with the title ‘Sir’ by King George in 1922.
Guidance through words
After the events of WWI, Iqbal wrote “Khizr-e-Rah” (“The Guide”) and “Bang-e-Dara” (“Call of the Marching Bell”) to help and guide people, especially Muslims, out of trauma and tragedy.
Why We Love Great Poetry Reading Day
It’s a celebration of the human spirit
Words have the power to bring human emotions to life, and poetry does this quite well. It wouldn’t be wrong to call poetry ‘Songs of the Soul’ because often it touches the very core of what it means to be human and feel as humans do.
It’s a celebration of creativity
When no technology, or scribes for that matter, were available to record history, humans resorted to memorization. And to make it easier, poetry and its subsequent elements like rhymes were created. While it’s true that necessity is the mother of creation, creativity is the tool with which the creation is made.
It’s a celebration of old and new times
In ancient times, from the deserts of the Middle East to the cold slopes of Europe, poetry was used as a means of a battle between poets. The poet who won gained fame and monetary compensation. Today, rap battles are no different, and it’s just amazing how traditions can carry along from one era into another.
Great Poetry Reading Day dates