World Poetry Day was declared by UNESCO twenty years ago. The aim of this Day is to support the worldwide linguistic diversity and promote poetry as the most sublime form of language. It also reminds us that there are indigenous languages in the face of extinction.
Although poetry is actually one of the oldest forms of expression it has been overshadowed by narrative and even dramatic expression. People do not rush to a library or a bookshop to pick up a poetry book. Due to its complexity, the reading of poetry appears to be a negligible activity, a mixture of defiance and authenticity.
Nevertheless, poetry is a tradition that has never disappeared and is far from falling into oblivion. It has its rightful place in verbal expression and is found everywhere. Rhyme – the music of words – is in nursery rhymes, lullabies, tongue twisters, riddles and games. The epic adventures are written in verse and the deeds of the heroes of the history of Latin America from the conquest to the independence are retold time and again in verse. In one form or another, poetry has always featured throughout our history, in popular form: carols, ballads, songs and couplets or more cultured forms: sonnets, elegies, odes. It is likewise found in religious messages and pagan formulations. It continues to live on in parks and squares and in open air poetry reading sessions (The International Poetry Festival of Medellin); in literary competitions (The Ministry of Culture’s National Poetry Competition); in blogs and with small publishing houses (Otro Páramo, La Raiz, Tragaluz, Frailejón, Luna Libros); in International Art and Culture Festivals (The Hay Festival); and in literary magazines (El Malpensante, Arcadia, Arqitrave).
Poetry can be a refuge in our busy, materialistic lives, an oasis of beauty and idealism. It has to be sought out but then it lives on in the hearts of those who aspire to escape from everyday life.
In School, we have wanted to give poetry its rightful place. We read, listen and write poetry at all levels: Pre-School, Primary, Secondary. At the end of each school year, we study poetry and it has a privileged place on our reading lists: poems for the young and old from different eras and diverse places, universal, Latin American and Colombian. There are two categories dedicated to poetry in the macro project Talentos: poetry reading in 4th grade and poetry writing in 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th grades.