UNESCO Cities of Literature celebrate creativity and togetherness on World Poetry Day

UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature use creativity and culture to promote the social, economic and cultural development of their cities. In these times of global uncertainty, the network continues to connect literary communities across the world, forging bonds through the power of books, words and ideas.


Granada City of Literature in Spain leads the Cities of Literature World Poetry Day activity each year, and in 2022 their chosen theme is ‘Let’s Poetry’. Granada’s celebrations kick off with an opening ceremony at the Cuarto Real de Santo Domingo where four poets will read, followed by 25 poets reading in the gardens of the University of Granada Law School, and the long-running Poetry Slam Granada, in which 10 poets will compete to be judged the winner by public vote.


11 Cities of Literature are running activity for World Poetry Day 2022: Dunedin, Heidelberg, Kraków, Kuhmo, Manchester, Melbourne, Milan, Nanjing, Obidos, Tartu and Wonju. Across the world, these activities celebrate poetry and its power to speak to our common humanity and our shared values. Other Cities of Literature around the world will share these initiatives, inviting their communities to join in and celebrate poetry in all its forms. World Poetry Day will be marked in this way around the world, and the Cities of Literature hope to raise awareness about the power of literature and poetry for building sustainable and inclusive societies.


Nine Cities of Literature have collaborated on a chain reading of the ‘So I’ll Talk About It’, by Ukrainian poet Serhiy Zhadan: Edinburgh, Exeter, Granada, Heidelberg, Iowa City, Kuhmo, Manchester, Norwich, and Tartu. Poets from these cities have come together to celebrate the culture of Ukraine, and share a message of solidarity, hope and resilience.



A free poem video will be shared featuring the renowned performance poet David Eggleton, Poet Laureate of New Zealand, reading ‘Time of the Icebergs’. The film by David and Richard Wallis, which will also screen on high rotate on the City Library Cube, is rich with verbal and visual references to Dunedin City of Literature.



In Bei Anruf: Poesie’: Poetry by dial’, 35 poets from Heidelberg will call poetry lovers by telephone across the city and the region and will read their own poems aloud. Poets and listeners will be matched by the cultural departments. There will also be an exhibition at the City Library for children to experience creative play with words; poet, translator and co-founder of the independent publishing house Das Wunderhorn will present his latest work at the Maison de Heidelberg; and there will be a music and reading event on March 20th at the central graveyard of Heidelberg.



Krakow will contribute to the WPD’s celebrations Planting a Tree of Poetry as a commemoration of Adam Zagajewski on the 1st anniversary of his passing, with poets from Kraków, literary community and readers at Planty Park. They will also offer a Multipoetry activity, screening 5 poems by Adam Zagajewski on the wall of the Potocki Palace on the Main Square.



For WPD 2022, Kuhmo City of Literature will contribute with an event at the Juminkeko Centre celebrating the Year of Vepsian Culture with a Vepsian evening, where people can learn more about their history, culture, and language.



Manchester will be participating in the World Poetry Day celebrations with a film of a newly commissioned poem from one of their newly appointed Multilingual City Poets.



Melbourne City of Literature will have 4 Melbourne poets read Ukrainian poems to celebrate the poetry, words and writers of Ukraine. The poems will be posted on their social media on the day.



Starting on March 20th, Milan will join the World Poetry Day celebrations with Water Rims, poetry walks from Chiesa Rossa Library to Via San Domenico Savio 3; readings by the Poetry and the City group (Nicola Gardini, Vivian Lamarque and Vittorio Lingiardi) with local secondary school students in the Perego Garden; Sowing Poetry, a musical reading with Stefano Orlandi (voice) and Giulia Bertasi (accordion) organized by MaMu Cultura Musicle; Poets Against War,a poetry event that engages authors who gather to recite against the war; and on March 21st, Tribute to Poetry, two poetry houses meet to give life to a choral poetry Reading.



Nanjing will join WPD 2022 celebrations with two events. Night of Poetry will feature readings from 20 Nanjing poets at the newly-launched Nanjing Literature Centre on the topic ‘Miracle Happens in the Spring’. Poem Walk with a White Cane sees 20 visually impaired students from the anjing School for the blind and a group of volunteers paired up to enjoy a literary walk together and share classic Chinese poems on the Mochou Lake.



Obidos will join the World Poetry Day celebrations with online poetry readings, with poems from their most famous local poet, Armando da Silva Carvalho, in the Public Library which will be broadcasted online. This event is in partnership between the Library, the Municipality and local schools.



Tartu will celebrate WPD with a poetry night with readings and music from Doris Kareva, poet; Andra Teede, poet; Jaan Pehk, poet and musician at Club Salong at Tartu Literature House. Continuing the tradition started in 2020, people are invited to record and send in poetry videos, either original works or the works of others. The event is not limited by language and videos are welcomed from all parts of the world, especially from the Cities of Literature, for posting on a dedicated Facebook page during the day.



Wonju will join the World Poetry Day celebrations with a Facebook and Instagram campaign, with a live event later in the year. Starting on March 17 and ending on March 21, five poets will each contribute a poem, available in both English and Korean.


For more information

About World Poetry Day: World Poetry Day takes place on 21 March, and was first declared by UNESCO during its 30th General Conference in Paris in 1999, with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard.

For more information on World Poetry Day, please visit: https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/worldpoetryday


About the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN): Created in 2004, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network gathers 246 cities from over 80 UNESCO Member States, that have positioned culture and creativity as strategic enablers for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the local level. The Network covers seven creative fields that are Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, and Music. 39 UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature from 28 countries are currently members of the Network and collaborate actively and closely to promote the power of literature for sustainable and inclusive societies.

For more information on the UCCN, please visit: https://en.unesco.org/creative-cities/home


To learn more about the UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature Networkhttps://www.citiesoflit.com/

The Cities of Literature press pack is here


Enquiries to:

Granada Team

Carmen Casares: carmen@granadaciudaddeliteratura.com

Jesús Ortega: granada@granadaciuaddeliteratura.com

UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature Network Lead

John Kenyon: john-kenyon@iowacityofliterature.org


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