Thursday, April 14, 2011

Poem in Your Pocket Day

We are terribly excited that today, April 14, is Poem in Your Pocket Day (PIYPD), an initiative to get New Yorkers to stop and enjoy poetry and think about how to incorporate it into their lives. Our neighbors at Poets House will be distributing small cards with poems printed on them to passers-by. Staff and volunteers will be in and around Lower Manhattan at the World Financial Center courtyard (11 a.m.–2 p.m.) and at Poets House itself (throughout the day).

The City of New York launched Poem in Your Pocket Day in 2002, and last year it went national. There are events galore, a Facebook page, and of course twitter opportunities aplenty in the form of poetweets.

If you are inspired to create your own poem, the Tribute Center is hosting a haiku workshop today from 3-5 p.m. Actual poets will guide visitors in the art of haiku, the Japanese poetry form that consists of three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables.

The Brooklyn Museum will grant free admission today to anyone bearing a poem. I don’t think you need to recite it, just have it on your person.

I have to say that PIYPD can be a little intimidating when you have an exhibition up about Hannah Senesh and you are curating one about Emma Lazarus. On the other hand, what a wealth of resources we have from which to choose a magnificent poem. Here is a poem Hannah wrote to her brother when he was leaving Hungary for France in July 1938. It is translated from the Hungarian by Peter Hay.


You left.We waved a long while.
Porters clattered behind.
We watched and you disappeared.

Life took you. You were happy.
Maybe your heart had songs within.
Our tears were well hidden.

Wordless, we went home
Watching the sky, pale and blue,
And our soul, unseen and secretly
Is waving still to you.

If you are observing PIYPD, please share your poem in the comments section.

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