This year, the Academy of American Poets is introducing a new celebration as part of National Poetry Month—Poem in Your Pocket Day. On April 17, people across the United States are invited to choose a favorite poem and carry it in their pockets. Just carrying a poem is only part of the celebration though. During the day, poetry lovers are encouraged to unfold and read their pocketed poems in celebration of the visions of poets.
This may be the most challenging day ever for an English teacher like me. How can I possibly choose just one poem? When I first discussed Poem in Your Pocket Day with colleagues, one of them joked about carrying around a copy of “The Wasteland” in his pocket. I love Eliot too, but Id be more likely to carry “Preludes.” Its far more portable, but its also filled with imagery that I love.
But could I limit it just to “Preludes”? What about my love for the deep allusions in Ezra Pounds “Hugh Selwyn Mauberly”? Sure everyone knows “In a Station of the Metro”—and there is perhaps no poem more perfectly suited for pocketing—but my heart belongs to the classical references of “Mauberly.” Yet is that the right poem?
What about all those Nikki Giovanni poems I adore? And how can I forget Robert Frost and Langston Hughes? Wait, and Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Blake? And I have such a nice soft spot for Christina Rossetti. And I almost forgot about William Butler Yeats!
Perhaps choosing is just too difficult. Maybe I should just write my own, with apologies to William Carlos Williams:
Not the work of a great poetic mind, but how can you choose just one anyway? So whats your poem? What poet will you carry in your pocket for Poem in Your Pocket Day?
so much depends
laced with waiting
inside my pants