An active way to share poetry with others, especially those who may not be exposed to poetry much on a daily basis, is to participate in Poem in Your Pocket Day. This even is now sponsored nationally by The Academy of American Poets, but according to the NYC Poem-In-Your-Pocket website, “The Office of the Mayor, in partnership with the New York City Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education, initiated the annual citywide Poem in Your Pocket day (PIYP) celebration in 2002.” The Academy of American Poets took it national in 2009.
The idea is simple: Carry a poem in your pocket on Thursday and share it with co-workers, friends, family, fellow riders on buses and subways–anyone you’d like to reach with poetry. The poem can be yours or a favorite by a fellow poet or a well-known master.
Poets.org provides over 50 printable pocket-sized PDFs of poems to choose from. Or you can make up your own form as I’ve done for printing out your favorites. I plan to slip poems into library books, leave them in public spots for random pick-up, and include one with the server’s tip when I eat out. Think of it all as guerrilla consciousness-raising about the value and pleasure of poetry.
If you’d like to see and use my master form, click here: Poem in Pocket. You can copy elements of the master individually and paste into a Word document; or print out a copy, arrange your poem in the center of a Word page, and print the poem onto the printed master. (Those of you who are more tech-savvy than I am probably know better ways to do this. If so, please share your advice in comments!)