I’m enormously gratified to be celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day once again on this bright and blustery spring day. Not that it ever went away—it’s been happening cheerfully every year, with or without my participation. But the stresses of academic life had distracted me for the past couple of years, and I managed to miss it twice in a row. This was a sad thing; it ranks right up there with Thanksgiving in my personal pantheon of beloved holidays, although the nourishment here is all intellectual and emotional, and you won’t have to undo your top pants button at the end of the day.
The rules for Poem in Your Pocket Day, as put forth by Poets.org, are simple:
People … select a poem, carry it with them, and share it with others throughout the day.
You can also share your poem selection on Twitter by using the hashtag #pocketpoem.
Poems from pockets are unfolded throughout the day with events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores.
I am, happily, heading out to a workplace where pulling out a poem in the lunchroom wouldn’t be considered weird at all—hopefully I can make a few converts to the tradition. My poem this year is “Army of Another,” by poet and author Nance Van Winckel. I know nothing of the poem’s genesis, other than the fact that it was first published in Jubilat in 2011 and was Poetry Daily’s featured poem in November of that year, which is where I discovered it. I couldn’t tell you what it’s about. But it hits me on a purely visceral level, which is what I consider poetry’s wonderful talent—sometimes there’s no need at all to think a poem through, just read and react.