World Poetry Day at the BBG

In celebration of World Poetry Day, here is a sample of the extraordinary poetry programs and projects from across the BBG.


RFE/RL’s Russian Service paired up with the English Pen Club to translate into Russian a collection of “Poems for Pussy Riot” by English language poets. Six poems were translated by prominent translators Valery Nugatov and Anna Aslanian and read aloud. One of the poems is available below. You can see all the videos of the poetry readings (in Russian) here.


VOA’s Deewa Service  has had a lot of success with various poetry programming. Its children’s program, “Jump, Jump, Camel” has received high acclaim and is getting young children in Pakistan excited about learning.

The Deewa Service will also be celebrating the 400th birthday of the iconic poet Khushal Khan Khattak, with an open house at the BBG Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Friday, March 22, 2013.


“It is said that every Vietnamese thinks of him/herself as a poet, and almost everyone in the country does write some verses – most likely about love – at some point in their lives,” explained Judy Nguyen, Chief of the VOA Vietnamese Service.  It’s no wonder then that the Service’s literary blog, “Nguyen Xuan Hoang and Friends” is such a success.

The blog frequently reviews works by celebrated Vietnamese authors who are known for their excellence in prose or poetry – such as Mai Thao, Tran Mong Tu. The host, Nguyen Xuan Hoang is famous contemporary novelist. But few people realize that he began his writing career as a poet when he was still in high-school.


RFE/RL’s Azeri Service just opened nominations for its annual “Literary Freedom” award, which recognizes the best poetry and short stories of the past year. The service also has a very successful literature page on its website.

RFE/RL’s Radio Free Iraq has a weekly program called Mawaweel which focuses on a specific Iraqi genre of folk poetry that is recited and sung, accompanied by popular tunes. Produced and presented by popular, contemporary Iraqi poet Faleh Al-Darraji, who lives in California and shuttles between the U.S. and Iraq, the program airs every Saturday and is repeated several times throughout the week.

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