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Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day: April 18, 2019

By Terresa Wellborn

As a young girl I stashed all manner of things in my pockets: bubble gum, necklace charms, miniature dolls and erasers. Times have changed. Today you might find an odd Kleenex or a thin stick of peppermint Trident (I still love chewing gum). Or, if it’s April 18th, a poem.

April is the month of April Fools, my father and a brother’s birthdays, Easter, Earth Day, and National Poetry Month. It’s the month mother nature shrugs off winter, at least in my part of the world, and grows green. Ahh, spring, the month of rebirth and renewal. What better time to share a poem?

Imagine my delight to discover Poem in Your Pocket Day. A few months ago while browsing my local library shelves, I found the gem, Pocket Poems by Bobbi Katz (2004, Dutton Juvenile), a picture book with snack-sized poems, many of them eight lines or less, perfect to print and carry in your pocket. The end notes include information on Poem in Your Pocket Day; I’ve been planning and plotting ever since.

Here are the details:
April 18, 2019. On this day, find some poems (Google or better yet ask a poet or teacher or librarian). Print them up, carry them with you, and share them wherever you might be: schools, libraries, carpools, parks, guitar lessons, work, at the gym or grocery store, while walking the dog. On social media use the hashtag #pocketpoem.

Yes, Poem in Your Pocket Day is a thing.

It began in April 2002 by the Office of the Mayor in New York City, in partnership with the city’s Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education. In 2008, the Academy of American Poets jumped in and rolled out the concept nationwide, encouraging everyone to participate. It makes sense. I mean, if we have National Donut Day (June 7) and National Pancake Day (March 12), it’s fitting we set one day aside each year to honor poetry!

My hope is that Poem in Your Pocket Day becomes a worldwide phenomena. I’ve read poetry posted on the London Tube, seen poetry scrawled on the walls of Glasgow, heard poetry sung in the plazas of Hermosillo, and recited on the streets of Montevideo. So c’mon, let’s do this!

“Poetry is best when shared, and Poem in Your Pocket Day is the perfect time to surprise someone with the gift of poetry.” –Poem in Your Pocket Day web site

For starters, here’s a lovely poem to consider sharing this April 18th:

blessing the boats by Lucille Clifton
(at St. Mary’s)

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

 

What is your favorite poem? And which poem will you be sharing this April 18th for Poem in Your Pocket Day?

About Terresa Wellborn

Terresa Wellborn has been published in BYU Studies, Dialogue, and several anthologies including Fire in the Pasture, Monsters and Mormons, and Dove Song: Heavenly Mother in Mormon Poetry. She has a BA degree in English Literature and a MLIS degree in Library and Information Science. Her joys include her four children, books, and chocolate babka. She reads faster than she hikes, runs faster than she writes, and has often been mistaken for Miss Frizzle. When not on a mountaintop, she prefers to dwell in possibility.

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