National Poetry Month

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It’s National Poetry Month and I am happy to report that for me, every month is poetry month!

title_words_worth largeSince 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’ and happens this Thursday, April 18th.

npm2013_logoThe 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.

If you’re feeling particularly creative you can design your own Poem in Your Pocket Day event. Check out some ideas, below. Or email your projects and suggestions at

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, 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.

Keep in touch…