‘Without poetry, we lose our way’
Today is more than just a Thursday. It’s Poem in Your Pocket Day. And there’s never been a better time for a pick-me-up from the written word.
The idea started in Academy of American Poets officially launched National Poetry Month in 1966. Held each April, it has become the most widely celebrated literary event in the world. Each year, millions of students, teachers, writers, and readers come together to praise the power of poetry to soothe, inspire, and entertain.
U.S. Poet Laureate and Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets Joy Harjo says, “Without poetry, we lose our way.”
Now, more than ever, National Poetry Month helps the nation find solace in the creativity and connection of the written word. As part of the month-long celebration, the Academy of American Poets encourages every citizen to take part in Poem in Your Pocket Day.
Created in 2002 by the New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Poem in Your Pocket Day went national to all 50 states in 2008 and was recently extended to include Canada.
What is Poem in Your Pocket Day?
Poem in Your Pocket Day encourages participants to carry a favorite poem in their pocket and share it with others throughout the day. Since 2002, cities across the country have joined together to celebrate poetry and its impact on the community. For example, the town of Charlottesville, Virginia, launches a full-scale effort each year. Residents distribute small scrolls etched with poems to businesses, schools, senior centers, and hospitals.
Given the current social distancing guidelines across the nation, organizers encourage people to participate virtually in this year’s event, which is set for April 30th.
Participants don’t need to be scholars, writers, or even self-proclaimed lovers of poetry. Poem in Your Pocket Day is open to people of all ages, races, religions, and backgrounds.
Organizers of the special day say everyone has been touched by a poem at some point in their life. They encourage people to copy down a favorite poem or two. From there, they can share it on social media platforms (using the hashtags #PoemInYourPocketDay, #ShelterInPoems and #PocketPoem). The poem can also be shared in a text, email, or phone call.
The best Poem in Your Pocket Day yet
The Academy of American Poets believes the day will bring even more people together than it has in years past.
They state, “This April, the Academy of American Poets is more committed than ever to doing everything it can to bring poetry to the widest possible audience. The organization offers activities, initiatives, and resources. Each have been adapted so that anyone can join in online and at home and hopefully find comfort, resilience, and connection throughout the month of April and beyond.”
The Academy of American Poets offers a library of poetry to browse and download. Plus, it provides a free guide that includes ideas for celebrating the day virtually in compliance with social distancing guidelines.
The website also contains resources and activities to help individuals celebrate National Poetry Month and become more engaged in the art of poetry.