March 21 is World Poetry Day!

Today, March 21, is World Poetry Day!

Declared as such in 1999 by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), this day was designated for recognizing the value of teaching, reading and writing poetry.

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, says, “Every poem is unique but each reflects the universal in human experience, the aspiration for creativity that crosses all boundaries and borders, of time as well as space, in the constant affirmation of humanity as a single family.”

If you find yourself at PDX today, visit Michael Hoeye’s work on Concourse A. Michael’s exhibit, Angels Passing, is a celebration of diversity, paying tribute to the individuals in his own neighborhood. Prose for the exhibit was written by Joanne Mulcahy.

Michael’s diverse collection of characters is removed from all context as they float on stark white backgrounds. Their personalities are expressed through their clothing, their strides, and their expressions. We catch a snapshot glance, but are we really seeing the whole person? How much of what we see is based on our own preconceptions?

Angels Passing celebrates the unique qualities of each individual while simultaneously recognizing their place in our shared human family.

Today, we hope you will celebrate World Poetry Day in a way that is meaningful to you. And just in case you don’t have any poetry handy, we offer Maya Angelou’s Human Family.

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.

I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I’ve seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I’ve not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
we weep on England’s moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we’re the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.