Poem in Your Pocket Day
Every April, on Poem in Your Pocket Day, people throughout the United States celebrate by selecting a poem, carrying it with them, and sharing it with others throughout the day as schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, and other venues ring loud with open readings of poems from pockets.
Poem in Your Pocket Day was originally initiated in 2002 by the Office of the Mayor, in partnership with the New York City Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education, 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.
Poem in Your Pocket Day 2016 will be held on April 21.
Each year on national Poem in Your Pocket Day, the town of Charlottesville, Virginia, unites in a day-long celebration of poetry. The project is spearheaded by Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, whose staff recruit members of the community—students, senior citizens, local business owners, neighbors, and friends—to distribute poem scrolls throughout Charlottesville. Over 7,000 scrolls are distributed to a local hospital, a children's museum, libraries, senior centers, nursing homes, and numerous small businesses in the downtown area. They also put together a street team that hands out poems along the Charlottesville pedestrian mall.
According to library branch manager Wendy Saz, "The very best part of the project is seeing the way people immediately respond to poetry. People call the library to say how much their poem meant to them, personally. Some folks come back for additional scrolls to give to friends and family members. People stop to recite favorite poems, from memory, to street team members. Last year, when the day was over, we were happily surprised when one street team member commented that he hadn't seen a single poem on the ground or in a trash bin! People were tucking them in purses and pockets, to keep and to reread."
Poetry is best when shared, and Poem in Your Pocket Day is the perfect time to surprise someone with the gift of poetry.
How did you celebrate? Let us know!
In this age of mechanical and digital reproduction, it's easy to carry a poem, share a poem, or start your own Poem in Your Pocket Day event. Here are some ideas of how you might 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
- Text a poem to friends