Get Ready for Poem in Your Pocket Day!

TOMORROW IS POEM IN YOUR POCKET DAY!
Poem in Your Pocket Day takes place every year on a day in National Poetry Month. On this day, select a poem, carry it with you, and share it with others at schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, street corners, and on social media using the hashtag #pocketpoem.

It’s easy to carry a poem, share a poem, or start your own Poem in Your Pocket Day event. Here are some ideas of how you might get involved:

  • Start a poem giveaway in your school or workplace
  • Urge local businesses to offer discounts for those carrying poems
  • Post pocket-sized verses in public places
  • Memorize a poem
  • Start a street team to pass out poems in your community
  • Distribute bookmarks with your favorite lines of poetry
  • Add a poem to your email footer
  • Post lines from your favorite poem on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest
  • Send a poem to a friend

Poem in Your Pocket Day was initiated in April 2002 by the Office of the Mayor in New York City, in partnership with the city’s Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education. In 2008, the Academy of American Poets took the initiative to all fifty United States, encouraging individuals around the country to participate. In 2016, the League of Canadian Poets extended Poem in Your Pocket Day to Canada.

Poetry in the Movies

There’s a long tradition of films made about poets and their work. What better time than National Poetry Month to gather some friends, watch a poetry-related movie, and perhaps discuss some of the poet’s work after the film?

Try one of the suggestions below for the perfect cinematic event.

Films about Poets and Poetry

A Quiet Passion—Cynthia Nixon portrays Emily Dickinson in this biographical drama, which recounts the poet’s life and features some of her famous verses.

The Basketball Diaries—Based on the autobiography by poet and artist Jim Carroll, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, this film depicts Carroll’s reckless youth and the writing that becomes his means of clarity.

Before Night Falls—Javier Bardem plays Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas in this film, adapted from Arenas’s own memoir.

Bright Star—Ben Whishaw and Abbie Cornish play John Keats and Franny Brawne in this biographical romantic drama about the famous couple, which features several of Keats’s poems and takes its title from one of Keats’s famous love sonnets.

Il Postino—In this 1994 Italian film, a postman develops a relationship with his only customer, famous poet Pablo Neruda, living in exile in Italy, and through Neruda’s poetry, is better able to express his feelings to his love interest.

Kill Your Darlings—This biographical drama, starring Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg, Dane DeHaan as Lucien Carr, Ben Foster as William S. Burroughs, and Jack Huston as Jack Kerouac, takes place in the early days of the Beat Movement when a 1944 murder affects the group of young writers.

Piñero—Benjamin Bratt stars in this biopic about Puerto Rican poet-playwright Miguel Piñero, who cofounded the Nuyorican Poets Café in New York City.

Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle—The Algonquin Round Table comes alive in this film, which features Jennifer Jason Leigh as Dorothy Parker.

Set Fire to the Stars—Elijah Wood stars as poet John M. Brinnin and Celyn Jones stars as Dylan Thomas in this 2014 Welsh film, based on Brinnin’s memoir of the same name.

SylviaThe relationship of Ted Hughes, played by Daniel Craig, and Sylvia Plath, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, is detailed in this film, which begins with the couple’s courtship as young college students.

Tom & Viv—Willem Dafoe and Miranda Richardson star as T. S. Eliot and Vivienne Haigh-Wood in a film that depicts their tumultuous marriage and Eliot’s literary success.

Total Eclipse—This film captures the turbulent, explosive affair between Parisian poets Paul Verlaine, played by David Thewlis, and Arthur Rimbaud, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Wilde—Based on Richard Ellmann’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of the famous poet, novelist, and playwright, Wilde, starring Jennifer Ehle, Vanessa Redgrave, Jude Law, and Stephen Fry as the eponymous writer, recounts Oscar Wilde’s growing realization and acceptance of his sexuality, leading up to his notorious trial and imprisonment.

Films That Reference Poetry

Big Bad LoveA Vietnam vet keen on writing poetry and prose struggles to improve his personal and his writing life in this film, based on the short stories of Mississippi writer Larry Brown. Brown’s own poems, and those of William Carlos Williams, are in the film.

Dead Poets SocietyRobin Williams plays an English teacher in an East Coast boys’ prep school who inspires his students to love poetry, among other life lessons. The film, which popularized the tradition of carpe diem poems, features verse by Frost, Tennyson, and Shakespeare.

Four Weddings and a Funeral—This romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant and Andie Macdowell features a pivotal scene containing W. H. Auden’s “Funeral Blues.”

Henry FoolThis quirky film features Thomas Jay Ryan as Henry Fool, an ex-convict who encourages a friend, James Urbaniak as sanitation worker Simon Grim, to become a poet. His first work attains public notoriety and chaos ensues. Make it a double feature with the film’s sequel, Fay Grim, starring Parker Posey.

HOWLStarring James Franco as Allen Ginsberg, this film largely revolves around the text of Howl, its composition, initial reading, and the public’s reaction. By the movie’s end, nearly the entire poem has been recited.

Paterson—This subtle, meditative film follows the mundane daily life of a bus driver named Paterson, played by Adam Driver, who lives in Paterson, New Jersey, and writes poems about his everyday life. The film features poems by Ron Padgett.

Poetic JusticeJanet Jackson stars as a young woman struggling to find love and meaning in her life. Maya Angelou‘s poems “Alone” and “Phenomenal Woman” appear in the film, as does Angelou herself.

Shakespeare in LoveThis film is a fictional imagining of the endeavors of a young William Shakespeare, played by Joseph Fiennes, and also starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Shakespeare’s love interest, Viola. The dialogue and subject matter is full of allusions to Shakespeare’s work.

SlamPoetry is a means of redemption in this story about a D.C. youth, his incarceration, and his dedication to the spoken word poetry scene upon release. Slam luminaries such as Saul Williams (whose poetry punctuates the film), Taylor Mali, and Bob Holman have cameos.

The Kindergarten Teacher—In this remake of the 2014 Israeli film of the same name, Maggie Gyllenhaal stars as a New York kindergarten teacher who becomes obsessed with one of her students, who appears to be a literary prodigy. The movie features the poetry of Kaveh Akbar and Ocean Vuong.


Reprinted from the Academy of American Poets website.


 

Poet Evelyn Atreya

In celebration of National Poetry Month, members of the Guilford Poets Guild were invited to share their thoughts about poetry and the life of a poet. Here’s what GPG president and poet Evelyn Atreya had to say:

Do you remember the first poem you ever wrote?
No, but I know that it was my English homework that I wrote in my high school Chemistry class that met right before English. My English teacher praised the poem and read it to the class. Positive feedback is pretty powerful!

What else do you write besides poetry? Do you have other creative pursuits?
I’m big on To-Do Lists that keep me organized so I have time to write poetry. I find just living is a creative pursuit whether it is cooking, gardening or playing Tai Chi.

How long have you been a member of the Guilford Poets Guild and what’s that like?
Ten years of sharing

What inspires your writing today?
The natural world and our relationship to it.

Who are you favorite poets and authors?
Jane Kenyon, Mark Doty, Mary Oliver, Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks), and Buson to name just a few

What book are you currently reading? (poetry or not)
The Essential Haiku, Robert Hass
Chances Are… , Richard Russo

Poem in Your Pocket Day is celebrated during National Poetry Month in April. What’s your favorite poem to carry about or share with others?
“The Summer Day,” Mary Oliver.

Any last words?
Mary Oliver’s question at the end of “The Summer Day” inspires me each morning as I pull up my window shades to ask myself: So what are you going to do with this wild and precious day?


THE SUMMER DAY
Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?


Evelyn Atreya lives in Guilford where she is a member and past president of the Guilford Poets Guild. She is a member of the Connecticut Poetry Society and attends its Greater New Haven Chapter workshops. Her poems have appeared in Caduceus, Long River Run, San Diego Poetry Annual, Plainsongs, Connecticut River Review, and in a chapbook, Olives, Now and Then, honoring Donald Hall on his 83rd birthday. Her first book, Regarding Rock, was published by Grayson Books in November 2015. Evelyn also is involved in the Guilford community as an active member of both the Guilford Rotary Club and the Leete’s Island Garden Club.

Poet Juliana Harris

In celebration of National Poetry Month, members of the Guilford Poets Guild were invited to share their thoughts about poetry and the life of a poet. Here’s what GPG president and poet Juliana Harris had to say:

How did you come to being a poet?
I think it’s hereditary…my grandmother was a poet, as was my aunt.

Do you remember the first poem you ever wrote?
Yes…the first poem I remember writing was a class assignment when I was a sophomore in high school. The topic was “Spring” and, unbeknownst to me, my teacher submitted it to a state wide literary contest where it won honorable mention. The only award I’ve ever won for a poem!

What else do you write besides poetry? Do you have other creative pursuits?
I have written ad copy, magazine articles, essays, two novels, one chapbook of poems and am about to release my first mystery, Murder at the Tavern: A Guilford Mystery. I am also an actress and a singer/songwriter.

What has been the defining moment in your life as a poet/writer?
When my poem was purchased and published!

How long have you been a member of the Guilford Poets Guild and what’s that like?
I joined the Guild in 2008 after being introduced to the group by my dear friend, Yvonne Scott. I find our meetings a constant source of inspiration and am grateful for the wonderful friendship.

What inspires your writing today?
Life.

Describe your poem-writing process.
I will see or hear something and it will start buzzing at the back of my brain, ultimately making it into words to share at a Guild meeting!

Where do you like to write? With what?
I write at my desk on my laptop.

Who are you favorite poets and authors?
Billy Collins is my favorite poet…too many authors to list!

What book are you currently reading? (poetry or not)
Writers & Lovers by Lily King

Poem in Your Pocket Day is celebrated during National Poetry Month in April. What’s your favorite poem to carry about or share with others?
Life Has Loveliness to Sell by Sara Teasdale


LIFE HAS LOVELINESS TO SELL
Sara Teasdale

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit’s still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.


Guilford Poets Guild President Juliana Harris remembers writing her first poem when she was a freshman in high school for a school assignment. The poem went on to win a prize in a statewide contest and she has been writing poems and essays ever since. Her work has appeared in publications across the country and her two novels are available on Amazon.com: The Fork in the Road and Pacific Heights. Her third novel, Murder at the Tavern: A Guilford Mystery, comes out later this spring. An award-winning professional actress, she is also a singer/songwriter and is currently at work on her third CD. She receives constant artistic stimulation from her participation in the Guilford Poets Guild and has compiling a chapbook of her poems, Portraits, about her family with the help and support of Guild members. She joined forces with guitarist Stephen Roane to form The Harris/Roane Duo in 2008. The Duo has performed concerts across the state and are recording their third CD.

30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month

  1. Sign-up for Poem-a-Day and read a poem each morning.

  2. Get a free National Poetry Month poster, or download the PDF, and display it for the occasion.

  3. Read last year’s most-read poem, Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Kindness.”

  4. Record yourself reading a poem, and share why you chose that work online using the hashtag #ShelterinPoems. Be sure to tag @poetsorg on twitter and instagram!

  5. Subscribe to the Poem-a-Day podcast.

  6. Check out an e-book of poetry from your local library.

  7. Begin your virtual meetings or classes by reading a poem.

  8. Talk to the teachers in your life about Teach This Poem.

  9. Learn more about poets and virtual poetry events in your state.

  10. Read about your state poet laureate.

  11. Browse Poems for Kids.

  12. Buy a book of poetry from your local bookstore.

  13. Make a poetry playlist.

  14. Browse the glossary of terms and try your hand at writing a formal poem.

  15. Create an online anthology of your favorite poems on Poets.org.

  16. Organize a poetry reading, open mic, or poetry slam via a video conferencing service.

  17. Sign up for an online poetry class or workshop.

  18. Donate books of poetry to little free libraries and mutual aid networks.

  19. Research and volunteer with poetry organizations in your area.

  20. Take a walk and write a poem outside.

  21. Start a virtual poetry reading group or potluck, inviting friends to share poems.

  22. Write an exquisite corpse or a renga with friends via email or text.

  23. Take on a guerrilla poetry project in your building.

  24. Read essays about poetry like Edward Hirsch’s “How to Read a Poem,” Mary Ruefle’s “Poetry and the Moon,” Mark Doty’s “Tide of Voices: Why Poetry Matters Now,” and Muriel Rukeyser’s “The Life of Poetry.”

  25. Watch a movie, lecture, or video featuring a poet.

  26. Read and share poems about the environment in honor of Earth Day.

  27. Make a poetry chapbook.

  28. Submit your poems to a literary magazine or poetry journal.

  29. Make a poem to share on Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 30, 2020.

  30. Make a gift to support the Academy of American Poets free programs and publications and keep celebrating poetry year-round!

National Poetry Month!

The Guilford Poets Guild celebrates National Poetry Month remotely this year, with a series of poetic posts here on its new and updated website. Members of the guild will be sharing their experiences as poets in a series of online interviews, as well as some of their favorite books and poems. Plus, learn about “30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month at Home or Online,” and more.

For more information about the Guilford Poets Guild, follow along here or on our Facebook page, @guilfordpoetsguild.

Songs for A Summer Night featuring Julie Harris

Please be sure to attend “Songs for A Summer Night,” featuring song stylist and GPG member poet Julie Harris, accompanied by guitarist Stephen Roane on Thursday, July 11, 7PM on the patio of the Guilford Free Library. This marks the tenth anniversary of the Duo’s performances at the Library. They had the honor of inaugurating the summer series in 2009!

The Guilford Free Library is located at 67 Park Street in Guilford. This program is free and open to all.


Patricia Horn O’Brien at Acton Public Library

Thursday June 13, 2019
6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Acton Public Library
60 Old Boston Post Rd, Old Saybrook

On Mother’s Day of 2017 Richard Manders, asked his mother, GPG poet Pat O’Brien, if she’d like to collaborate with him in writing a book about their journey through adoption, separation, reunion, and the years that followed. Thanks to that invitation, the book, The Laughing Rabbit: A Mother, A Son, And the Ties that Bind was written. Through its collection of chapters, by Richard and his mother, Pat, along with chapters by other family members, the book narrates a story that started in 1962 with chaos and heartache, a story that turned a momentous corner in 1982 with a reunion, and a story that continues today, with love and healing and ongoing wonder. Books will be available for purchase.

Free and open to all.

Click here for more information. Registration is suggested as seating is limited and is available one month prior to the event.