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It’s National Poetry Month and I am happy to report that for me, every month is poetry month!
Since 1998, I’ve hired local poets to read for the Council’s Words’ Worth poetry program at the beginning of my committee meetings. Over 195 poets have presented 218 readings since then. And in 1999, I proposed electing a Poet Populist for the City of Seattle as a response to the more conventional practice of appointing a Poet Laureate (after clicking on Poet Laureate, scroll down to find ‘poet populist’ on that page).
Among the many events celebrating Poetry Month is one I find rather interesting called National Poem in Your Pocket Day. It’s sponsored by the Academy of American Poets’ Poetry.org and happens this Thursday, April 18th.
The way it works is that you select one of your favorite poems sometime in April, during National Poetry Month, and carry it around with you to share with co-workers, family, friends…even strangers. Is your office water cooler conversation lagging? Whip out a poem to spice it up or to at least surprise your co-workers.
You can also share your poem on Twitter by using the hashtag #pocketpoem.
Find a Poem for Your Pocket
Along with your local library, bookstore, or bookshelf at home, you can find the poems for your pocket by browsing Poets.org, where you can download pocket-sized Poem PDFs to print and share with others.
Put Poems In Others’ Pockets
Check out the ideas below for how you can get involved:
Start a “poems for pockets” give-a-way in your school or workplace
Urge local businesses to offer discounts for those carrying poems
Post pocket-sized verses in public places
Handwrite some lines on the back of your business cards
Start a street team to pass out poems in your community
Distribute bookmarks with your favorite immortal lines
Add a poem to your email footer
Post a poem on your blog or social networking page
Project a poem on a wall, inside or out
Text a poem to friends
Poem in Your Pocket History
In 2002, New York’s Mayor, in partnership with the New York City Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education, initiated Poem in Your Pocket Day as part of the city’s National Poetry Month celebration.
In 2008, the Academy of American Poets took the initiative national, encouraging individuals around the country to join in and channel their inner bard. Each year on Poem in Your Pocket Day, schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, and other venues ring loud with open readings of poems from pockets.
Highlights from Past Poem in Your Pocket Day Events
Throughout history, poems have been stashed in pockets in a myriad of ways, from the commonplace books of the Renaissance to the pocket-sized publications for Army soldiers in World War II.
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