Happy World Poetry Day!

Posted by Michael Barron, on March 21, 2013

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Everyday is Poetry Day at New Directions, but today is UNESCO's official World Poetry Day. Whether your community is hosting readings, or a parade, or erecting a statue of the local poet laureate in your town square, today is the day to unabashedly celebrate the verse. Never written a poem? Perhaps today is the day you finally put pen to paper. And if you need encouragement, look no further than Chilean poet Nicanor Parra's "Young Poets" from Poems and Antipoems for sagely advise on composing poetry. And because this is World Poetry Day, we've included the Spanish original as well.

Jovenes

Escriban lo que quieren.
En el estilo que les parezca mejor.
Ha pasado demasiada sangre bajo los puentes
Para seguir creyendo
Que sólo se puede seguir un camino.

En poesía se permite todo.

A condicion expresa
                 por cierto
De superar la página en blanco.

*   *   *

Young Poets

Write as you will
In whatever style you like
Too much blood has run under the bridge
To go on believing
That only one road is right.

In poetry everything is permitted.

With only this condition
                       of course
You have to improve on the blank page.

—Translated by Miller Williams

 

Related Author: Nicanor Parra
Related Book: Antipoems: How To Look Better & Feel Great
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