World Poetry Day

Behind the scenes

Saturday 21 March is UNESCO World Poetry Day.

World Poetry Day was proclaimed by UNESCO in 1999 as a day in which to affirm humanity as a single family through "the aspiration for creativity that crosses all boundaries and borders, of time as well as space." Though each poem is unique, poetry reveals the inner values of both individuals and cultures, and is a way of communicating ideas which would elude capture by other means.

There's a close relationship between the visual arts and poetry: poet Wallace Stevens argued in a lecture given in 1951 that both poetry and painting operate at the juncture between imagination and reality, and become a "vital assertion of self in a world where nothing but the self remains, if that remains."

Here, for World Poetry Day 2015, we assemble a selection of works relating to poetry from the collection of Christchurch Art Gallery -- vital assertions not only of self but of our rich cultural heritage, with its dynamic interplay between word and image.