Lonely Planet Writer

Cafes around the world celebrate World Poetry Day by letting you pay for coffee with a poem

World Poetry Day is a celebration of literature, free speech, and poetry that Unesco honours every year and that takes place on Monday 21 March this year.

World Poetry Day is a Unesco celebration that takes place every year
World Poetry Day is a Unesco celebration that takes place every year Image by Jameson Fink / CC BY 2.0

The day sees a worldwide celebration of poetry that seeks to cultivate a dialogue between poetry and other creative arts, as well as foster a connection between poetry and everyday life.

Book browsing
Book browsing Image by Laura D’Alessandro / CC BY 2.0

In a statement, Irina Bokova, Director-General of Unesco said: “By giving form and words to that which has none – such as the unfathomable beauty that surrounds us, the immense suffering and misery of the world – poetry contributes to the expansion of our common humanity, helping to increase its strength, solidarity and self-awareness.”

Guadalajara hosts book fair.
Image by quattrostagione / CC BY 2.0

To mark the occasion cafes worldwide will be allowing customers to pay for their coffees with a poem! Last year, coffee drinkers from 1,153 coffee houses in 27 countries paid for their coffee with a poem. The movement started with Julius Meinl in Austria, where he runs Meinl Coffee.

Find out what cafés near you is serving coffees in exchange for poems.