Poem in Your Pocket Day was initiated 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 took the initiative to all fifty United States, encouraging individuals around the country to participate. In 2016, the League of Canadian Poets extended Poem in Your Pocket Day to Canada.
Poem in Your Pocket Day takes place every year on a day in National Poetry Month.
Poem in Your Pocket Day 2023 will take place on April 27.
ROMP celebrates Poem in Your Pocket Day by asking people to carry a poem in their pocket and share it with others or simply read it to yourself throughout the day. Come to the museum and read it to us, and you will get a special prize.
Poem in Your Pocket Day is about a conscious effort to be aware of a poem that is living with you for a day. A poem on a piece of paper folded and inserted in your pocket. Not in your purse or your backpack or your car or in your lunch. In your actual pocket.
Thus, remember to wear clothing with pockets on April 27. Remember to write down or print out a poem—doesn’t matter if it it’s famous or not, yours or not, ancient or not—and put it in your pocket in the morning. Then, don’t forget about it. Take it out once an hour or more and take a look at it. Read it to someone. You may be surprised at how people will enjoy listening to a poem. Memorize it. Copy it on another piece of paper or a sidewalk or your office cubicle or on a leaf or your ham sandwich.
At the end of the day do not throw away your poem. Hang it on your refrigerator or frame it and sell it on Craig’s List. Modge-podge it to your bathroom wall. You can eat it but make sure it’s digestible. Hang it by your cat’s litter box or put it in the litter box or staple it to a tree in your yard.
So to recap, here are the rules:
- Get a poem you love on a piece of paper.
- Carry the poem in your pocket.
- Read it throughout the day.
- Do something with it at the end of the day.
And come to the museum to share the poem with us and get a prize!
A pocket is made for a poem. And a poem is made for a pocket.
–Shaun Perkins, ROMP Director