Thursday, April 29, 2021

Poem In Your Pocket Day

Hello and welcome to our last post for National Poetry Month - Poem In Your Pocket Day! It was started in 2002 in New York City, and in 2008, the Academy of American Poets helped spread it to all fifty states in the US. In 2016, the League of Canadian Poets extended Poem in Your Pocket Day to Canada. 

Poem In Your Pocket Day is really just another way to share poetry. Here are some ways you can participate from the Academy of American Poets
  • Select a poem and share it on social media using the hashtag #PocketPoem. 
  • Print a poem from the Poem in Your Pocket Day PDF and draw an image from the poem in the white space, or use the instructions on pages 59-60 of the PDF to make an origami swan. 
  • Record a video of yourself reading a poem, then share it on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or another social media platform you use. 
  • Email a poem to your friends, family, neighbors, or local government leaders.
  • Schedule a video chat and read a poem to your loved ones.
  • Add a poem to your email footer.
  • Read a poem out loud from your porch, window, backyard or outdoor space. 
The poem I'm sharing with you today is maybe just a little bit longer than ideal, but I love how it expresses that poetry really is for everyone. I intend to literally put this one in my pocket and share it with anyone that seems willing to accept a poem on my walk today. I think this might be better received than if I try reading it out loud from my porch to passers-by on the sidewalk.

How to Read a Poem: Beginner's Manual
Pamela Spiro Wagner

First, forget everything you have learned,
that poetry is difficult,
that it cannot be appreciated by the likes of you,
with your high school equivalency diploma
and steel-tipped boots,
or your white collar misunderstandings.

Do not assume meanings hidden from you:
the best poems mean what they say and say it.

To read poetry requires only courage
enough to leap from the edge
and trust. 

Treat a poem like dirt,
humus rich and heavy from the garden.
Later on it will become the fat tomatoes
and golden squash piled high upon your kitchen table.

Poetry demands surrender,
language saying what is true
doing holy things to the ordinary.

Read just one poem a day.
Someday a book of poems may open in your hands
like a daffodil offering its cup
to the sun.

When you can name five poets
without including Bob Dylan,
when you exceed your quota
and don't even notice,
close this manual.

You can now read poetry.

From We Mad Climb Shaky Ladders by Pamela Spiro Wagner. Copyright © 2009 by Pamela Spiro Wagner.

Be sure to visit Kym, Katand Sarah today to read their Poem In Your Pocket Day poems and thank you so very much for reading poetry and celebrating National Month Poetry Month with us. I hope you've gathered the courage to leap from the edge and trust, and maybe even enjoyed the process a little bit!


  1. My mother introduced me to poetry when I was a small child, so the leap is easy for me. Poetry is just another form of literary expression, and there is nothing mysterious about it. Like most things, if you try it, it is much more accessible than most people think. I know, preaching to the choir here! Have a great weekend, Bonny.

  2. I love this one, Bonny. It really says everything I think needs to be said about reading poetry -- it's not as difficult as it's made out to be!

  3. I just love that poem, Bonny! :-)
    (And that poem-in-your-pocket graphic is just perfect. So much fun.)

  4. This is just perfect! (and it is going in my pocket!) And thank you for posting all the ways to share Poem in Your Pocket Day! I am off to do some of them! :)

  5. What a great poem Bonny! (I like the line about naming 5 poets without including Bob Dylan!! - LOL)

  6. That is a really fabulous poem.

  7. Everything about this post: the poem, graphic and your words are a perfect tribute to National Poetry Month. Has all been very enjoyable.

  8. What a great poem and boy did April fly by for me!!

  9. I am with Karen. It is hard to believe that April and poetry month are coming to a close. I love Poem in Your Pocket day. Thanks for sharing these poems.

  10. What a perfect poem to close the month! Thank you, Bonny, for all the inspiration!


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