Sustainability Poetry Contest winners to be celebrated at public event

A free, in-person poetry event next week will celebrate contest winners and highlight the importance of sustainability efforts.

The 2023 Poetry Day Celebration will take place Monday, March 20 at 7 p.m. at Mahtay Café and Lounge, 241 St. Paul St. in St. Catharines. Everyone is welcome to attend the celebration, which will include a live poetry reading, the announcement of the winners of the 2023 Sustainability Poetry Contest and a discussion on the role the written word plays in advancing local sustainability efforts.

Contest winners will have the opportunity to read their poems aloud and, if time permits, other poets who submitted contest entries will also be invited to recite their work.

Brock University’s United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair Liette Vasseur says she looks forward to congratulating the winners in person.

“The celebration is a wonderful way to recognize the hard work and effort made by all of the entrants in the Sustainability Poetry Contest, and the important role poetry plays in our societies,” says the Professor of Biological Sciences. “The pandemic has demonstrated how essential arts and culture is to our lives and its importance in supporting community sustainability.”

The celebration aligns with UNESCO World Poetry Day, which has been celebrated on March 21 every year since 1999. The celebration highlights how poetry can be used as a tool to bring awareness to social issues, give a voice to the community, promote linguistic diversity and change the way people view their place in the world.

In the lead-up to the event, Vasseur invited Niagara poets to submit their original and unpublished poetry, in English or French, to the annual contest.

The theme for 2023 was to support the ‘International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development.’ Basic Sciences include all fundamental research and exploration in many different disciplines that can contribute to sustainable development, from natural sciences to social sciences.

Each winner will receive a prize and have their work published in the forthcoming annual eBook for this year’s contest.

The Sustainability Poetry Contest will return next year under the theme of ‘the importance of farmlands as a way to link to the 2024 International Year of Camelids.’

“Farmlands are essential for food security and economy, and this is especially true for the region of Niagara,” says Vasseur.

Visit the UNESCO Chair website to learn more about the Sustainability Poetry Contest and read eBooks from previous years’ contests.

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