Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Art of poetry: Keeping a poem in our pockets

A basket full of Pocket Poems
The fifth National Poem in Your Pocket Day is April 26, and I'm ready to celebrate.

Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, April is designated as National Poetry Month across America. And, it's a great opportunity to become acquainted ~ or re-acquainted ~ with poetry and to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. According to the Academy of American Poets' website (, the concept of National Poetry Month is "to widen the attention of individuals and the media ~ to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern.

"We hope to increase the visibility and availability of poetry in popular culture while acknowledging and celebrating poetry's ability to sustain itself in the many places where it is practiced and appreciated."

Such as in the wonderful environment of a delightful independent bookseller, located in a vibrant neighborhood that happens to be near a distinguished place of higher learning, the University of California Berkeley.

Muddy Feet Danced On This Table /
A pocket poem by Amanda Nadelberg
As it happened, last Friday I walked into Mrs. Dalloway's Literary & Garden Arts bookshop on College Avenue in Berkeley's Elmwood neighborhood to browse at books after dining nearby. And, lo and behold, in prominent display in the center of the shop was a basket displaying hundreds of beautifully written "pocket poems" printed on nice stationary that could easily tuck into one's pocket to share with friends and family.

How clever an idea ~ and these "pocket poems" featuring many different San Francisco Bay Area poets, includes Amanda Nadelberg, whose "pocket poem" contribution is entitled "Muddy Feet Danced On This Table". I picked hers at random from the basket and look forward to reciting it on April 26.

Mrs. Dalloway's has encouraged its customers to come by their bookshop and pick up a "pocket poem" anytime during the month and share it on National Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Indeed, it's a simple idea and anyone can create their own pocket poem: Select a poem you love during National Poetry Month, then carry it with you and share it on April 26 with friends and family. Even your co-workers might appreciate the gesture, too.

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