On April 26, 2002, the Office of the Mayor in New York City, in partnership with the city’s Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education, introduced Poem in Your Pocket Day—a day that celebrates the beauty and power of poetry by encouraging people to select a poem, carry it with them, and share it with others. In 2008, the Academy of American Poets expanded the initiative to all fifty states, and today, we’re excited to join in the celebration!
I asked the team to share what poems they would be carrying in their pockets today. Scroll down to see their picks, and share your poems on social media using the hashtag #pocketpoem.
Still looking for Poetry Month reading recommendations? Don’t miss our round-up of “17 books to read for Poetry Month!”
By Nathalie Handal
Carried in the pocket of Brittany Sullivan
All stars lead to this city,
she's an angel unfolding midnight
a river of invisible trumpets
and sidewalks of moons,
she's the blues
drunk on the light
commuting with love
on a sailboat
the perfect island.
Leave It All Up to Me
By Major Jackson
Carried in the pocket of Deimosa Webber-Bey
All we want is to succumb to a single kiss
that will contain us like a marathon
with no finish line, and if so, that we land
like newspapers before sunrise, halcyon
mornings arrived like blue martinis. I am
learning the steps to a foreign song: her mind
was torpedo, and her body was storm,
a kind of Wow. All we want is a metropolis
of Sundays, an empire of hand-holding
and park benches? She says, “Leave it all up to me.”
Milk and Honey
By Rupi Kaur
Carried in the pocket of Emily Morrow
you tell me to quiet down cause
my opinions make me less beautiful
but i was not made with a fire in my belly
so i could be put out
i was not made with a lightness on my tongue
so i could be easy to swallow
i was made heavy
half blade and half silk
difficult to forget but
not easy for the mind to follow
Let America Be America Again (excerpt)
By Langston Hughes
Carried in the pocket of Loribelle Lapaix
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")
Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?