Poem In Your Pocket

April is National Poetry Month, which brings with it much creative activity. If you are in New York City on April 26, and you happen to be at Penn Station or out in public, look around for the people handing out papers; the non-profit organization, Academy of American Poets have claimed the day as "Poem In Your Pocket Day," and they are giving poems away. The idea is that you select a poem that you love and carry it with you all month, sharing it with friends and family. You can sign up to receive a poem every day during the month of April via email, and at their website you can also find out about poetry events near you. This event is in its tenth year. 

In Berkeley, all during the month of April you can pick up a poem by a Bay Area poet at Mrs. Dalloway's Bookstore. Carry it in your pocket and unfold it and share it with friends on April 26. On their website they bill it as the "Fifth Annual Pocket Poem Giveaway." 

Two books with tear-off pages have been published in conjunction with the Academy of American Poets: pocket poems that are meant be torn out: Poem in Your Pocket: 200 Poems to Read and Carry (with an intro by Kay Ryan) and Poem in Your Pocket for Young Poets.

You might make one of these pocket books from Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings, Structures & Forms to save your choices or to hold your own poems:

  • (p. 33) X Book with Pockets
  • (p.43) Twist Card
  • (p.57) Pocket Triangle & Diamond Book
  • (p. 69) Winged Book
  • (p. 73)  Pocket Frame Book
  • (p. 75) Flag Book with Envelope Pages
  • (p. 96) Paper Bag Book
  • (p. 112) Accordion with Pockets
  • (p. 137) Magic Wallet
  • (p. 186-201) Envelopes & Portfolios
  • (p. 53) or try the Crown Binding with removable pages and include a couple of copies of each poem  

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i. Street Music (September)
In the shade of eucalyptus
with waving leaves
a slight, white man is wearing
a newsboy's cap
sitting on a sidewalk bench
outside the laundromat
waiting for a washer
playing clarinet
with a twinkle
in his tone.

ii. Street Music (March)
A white cup beside him
on the wooden bench,
a clarinet at his lips
sending out
tendrils of tunes,
a hatless man plays an encore
for Spring, oblivious.
What a shame
if someone tosses a folded dollar
into his coffee.

—Alisa Golden


Chehie said…
So moved and inspired by Poem in Pocket & the early morning sun highlighting the right side of my face and hands, my heart has found a new resting place in my chest. Thank you for your gift of blog, Alisa.
Alisa said…
It is nice to glimpse a bit of your sunny world in your comment.
Lizzie said…
What a lovely idea, Alisa! Perhaps we should try it over here..
I want to try a Palm Leaf style book structure - prior to attending an artist books day in June, where we'll be making these. Was wondering what to "put inside" - now I know; my favourite poem will do very nicely!
Thank you!
Carole said…
Nice blog. I'm on a bit of a mission to get my favorite classic poem up in to my top ten posts so it shows on the sidebar. So it would be great if you would have a look. Ozymandias