Did you know that this is National Poetry Month? “Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now held every April” (www.poets.org).
Part of the celebration is held tomorrow, April 24th. It is Poem in Your Pocket Day. The idea is that you take a favorite poem, and you carry it with you all day, sharing it with colleagues, peers, and friends – whomever you meet.
I did this last year with Tim, a fellow at work, and we’ll do it again tomorrow. Last year I carried Nostalgia by Billy Collins (you can listen to it at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/features/audioitem/2698). I remember sitting in Tim’s office and reading it to him. Tim still remembered a line or two from it this week and was able to help me find the title of it again so that I could include it for you here. If I am not mistaken (and there is a darn good chance I am) Tim carried a Shel Silverstein piece. I’m sorry, Tim, I don’t remember which one.
Regardless, this simply illustrates to me the entire point of National Poetry Month. Here are a couple of guys sitting in a corporate office in the middle of Indiana, in the middle of a busy workday reading poetry to each other.
Tim and I have an appointment set up in Outlook for 11AM Eastern, tomorrow morning, to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day. This year I will be carrying “Two Sides of a Story” by Aaron Belz. This is a poem from his book “The Bird Hoverer” (http://belz.net/) I am really looking forward to reading this poem to Tim. It is crazy great.
So, here’s your assignment. Go find a poem that you really like. Don’t read poetry?* Pick a song – most of them are poems. Print the lyrics and put that piece of paper in your pocket. Pull it out tomorrow and read it to someone. Anyone.
Know that you are part of a movement.
*You need to start moving in that direction. Subscribe to The Writer’s Almanac podcast and get one great poem in your earbuds every day. http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/podcast/