World Poetry Day is celebrated on 21 March, and was declared by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1999, “with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard”. Its purpose is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world and, as the original UNESCO declaration says, to “give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional and international poetry movements”.
It was generally celebrated in October, but in the latter part of the 20th century the world community celebrated it on the 15th, the birthday of Virgil, the Roman epic poet and poet laureate under Augustus. The tradition to keep an October date for national or international poetry day celebrations still holds in many countries. The United Kingdom generally uses the first Thursday in October, but elsewhere a different October, or even sometimes a November date, is celebrated.
The 2021 World Poetry Day in the UNESCO headquarters in Paris was dedicated to the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great Macedonian poet, writer, literary translator and linguistic scholar Blaže Koneski. At the same time, the British poet Carol Ann Duffy was announced as the recipient of the Golden Wreath Award of the Struga Poetry Evenings for 2021.