Filipinos urged to take a fresh look at poetry

Published March 22, 2019, 9:54 AM

by AJ Siytangco

By Roy Mabasa

The Czech Republic Embassy in Manila has encouraged Filipinos to take a fresh look at poetry and its potential to become a powerful force in international affairs.

“Over the past few years, poetry has become a potent force for those speaking against globally-felt social injustices and prejudices,” the Czech Embassy said in a statement issued in observance of the 20th anniversary of UNESCO’s World Poetry Day on Thursday.

According to the Czech mission, poetry has increasingly becoming popular in the Western hemisphere which even grew to such an extent that in 2018, analyses have considered it as a “new form of religion” which believes in honesty and equality for everyone.

Citing poetry’s heightened popularity and relevance across the world, “it has become an innovative and eloquent form of self-expression,” the Czech Embassy said. “With the absence of prejudice as its core value, poetry has become the preferred choice for people searching for meaningful self-expression.”

Interestingly, it noted that most of the new generation of poets and poetry-lovers are from the Generation Z or Millennial.

One of whom, it said, is the famous representative of the trend, Rupi Kaur, a young Canadian-Indian feminist poet who has sold millions of her poetry books globally.

“Poetry has much to offer in today’s increasingly divided world. It has the power to bridge gaps between people globally because it builds real connections based on our common human experiences, irrespective of nationality, social status, religion or political views,” the Embassy further said.

Following the recent terrorist attacks, general rise of movements tied to xenophobia, anti-semitism, Islamophobia, and anti-immigrant sentiment, the Czech mission encourages Filipino poetry lovers and writers to engage in Poetizer, a Czech social network for poets just for writing, reading and sharing poetry.

Founded by Prague-based couple Lukas and Johana Sedlacek, Poetizer was originally launched in 2017 and has since gone global. One can currently find 120,000 poems written by users from about 120 countries.

As part of its vision, Poetizer encourages people to interact with each other irrespective of their nationality, social status, religion or political views and to build meaningful friendships based on their common human experience of the world.

Additionally, the site envisions people to better empathize with one another by “tearing down those walls that are so often reinforced by harmful ideologies and lack of exposure to otherness.”

“In a world where social media is often characterized as promoting only the edited highlights of a person’s life, traditional social media platforms may not be the best place to share the innermost thoughts, worries or memories,” the Czech diplomatic mission said.