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Poem In Your Pocket Day – April 29, 2023

Poem in Your Pocket Day is celebrated on April 29 every year to encourage people across the United States to express themselves through poetry. The holiday began in 2002 when the Office of the Mayor in New York City, in collaboration with the city’s Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education, announced their intent to deem this day Poem in Your Pocket Day. Individuals are encouraged to write their own poetry, perform their own work, or create their own art inspired by poetry. The aim, of course, is to remind people of their participation in the living art of poetry.

History of Poem In Your Pocket Day

Poetry goes back to the days before humans knew how to pen down words. The first poems are believed to have been spoken words, and passed down through oral tradition. The earliest poetry exists in the form of hymns and chants. Most of the oldest surviving poetry is religious, such as prayers or stories about religiously significant events; other surviving poetry recounts historical events, instructions for activities, and even declarations of love. Historians today hold that the earliest instances of written poetry suggest the existence of older oral traditions.

Poetry sprung up across the globe at several points in time. In Africa, for example, the art dates back to prehistoric times, when people wrote poetry in the river valleys of the Nile and Niger as well as the Volta River. Some of the earliest poetry in the region is from the “Pyramid Texts” written as early as the 25th century B.C. The first-ever speculative fiction poem is believed to be the “Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor,” which was composed in Hieratic around 2500 B.C. Other scholars believe that “The Epic of Gilgamesh” is the oldest composition of this kind. Aside from these two, other poems counted among the oldest are the Greek “Iliad” and “Odyssey,” along with the Sanskrit “Mahabharata” and “Ramayana.” “Mahabharata” has been considered the longest poem ever written.

The nature of poetry has evolved over the years, and many structural traditions and literary movements have come and gone. Today, poetry exists in many forms, from song lyrics to stanzas of freeform, postmodern poems.

Poem In Your Pocket Day timeline

25th Century B.C.
Pyramid Texts

The Pyramid Texts are composed in ancient Egypt.

2500 B.C.
“The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor”

“The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor,” a Middle Kingdom story about an ancient Egyptian voyage, is written.

2100 B.C.
“The Epic of Gilgamesh”

“The Epic of Gilgamesh,” an ancient Mesopotamian odyssey recorded in the Akkadian language, is written.

4th Century C.E.
“The Mahabharata”

“The Mahabharata” reaches its final written form.

Poem In Your Pocket Day FAQs

What does “keep a poem in your pocket” mean?

The statement speaks about the power of poems — with a poem in your pocket, you will never feel lonely.

Who wrote “A Poem in Your Pocket”?

Margaret McNamara, the wife of the United States Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, is the author of “A Poem in Your Pocket.”

Who wrote the shortest poem?

The shortest poem, a four-legged version of the letter ‘m,’ was written by Aram Saroyan.

How to Observe Poem In Your Pocket Day

  1. Write a poem

    Poem in Your Pocket Day is meant to promote poetry. So write a poem today!

  2. Create art from poetry

    If words aren’t your preferred art form, create some other form of art — a painting, origami, anything — from an existing poem. Demonstrate your creativity.

  3. Talk about it on social media

    Spread the word about Poem in Your Pocket Day by talking about it on social media. You can share the poem you wrote or the art you created with your network of friends.

5 Interesting Facts About Poetry

  1. Etymology

    The word ‘poetry’ comes from the Greek word ‘poiesis,’ which means ‘making.’

  2. Poet’s Day

    A holiday named Poet’s Day is celebrated every August 21.

  3. The First Nobel Prize in Literature

    The French essayist and poet Sully Prudhomme was the first person to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

  4. Metrophobia

    Metrophobia is the fear of poetry.

  5. Written in green

    Pulitzer-winning poet and writer Pablo Neruda wrote his poems by hand in green ink.

Why Poem In Your Pocket Day is Important

  1. Poetry helps develop critical thinking skills

    Writing poetry forces us to think, and it opens our minds to creative opportunities. It adds a lot of fun to the mentally challenging task of critical thinking.

  2. It highlights the importance of poetry

    Poetry has been a part of human civilization since time immemorial. Poem in Your Pocket Day reminds us about this special connection humans feel toward poetry.

  3. It encourages the composition and consumption of poetry

    Poem in Your Pocket Day is the push we need to create and consume more poetry. Use this day to remind yourself to compose and consume more art, which will be great for your soul!

Poem In Your Pocket Day dates

YearDateDay
2023April 29Saturday
2024April 29Monday
2025April 29Tuesday
2026April 29Wednesday
2027April 29Thursday

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