Need To Hear Some Poetry To Get You Through The Day? There's A Holiday For That.

You could be a poet and not even know it.

What started out as a holiday on a college campus has quickly become a national celebration.

Poem in Your Pocket Day, celebrated on April 27 this year, takes place every year during National Poetry Month. Its goal is to have people carry a physical copy of a poem they've written or enjoyed reading, and share it with others.

The holiday began sometime between the late 1990s and early 2000s when an English professor named Kate Levin developed the idea. Levin went on to become the commissioner of New York City's Department of Cultural Affairs, and helped expand Poem in Your Pocket Day to other places across the city, capturing the attention of major poetry organizations such as the Poetry Society of America and the Academy of American Poets.

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Since then, Poem in Your Pocket Day has made its way across the country, allowing students and poem enthusiasts take part in all kinds of celebrations.

Ryan Max, the director of external affairs for New York City's Department of Cultural Affairs, said that the holiday is effective in starting conversations about the art of poetry.

"The genius of it is giving such a concrete action," he said to A Plus. "Having a physical copy printed of a poem in your pocket, carrying it on that day [is] something tangible, whereas poetry is usually seen as sort of a lofty pursuit that's accessible only to academics and specialists. This is a way to bring it down to a tangible human level that everyone can understand and connect with and I think that fact really has allowed [it to have staying power.]"

As the official home for the holiday, New York City will be celebrating with individual events at local library branches and other places such as Bryant Park's Reading Room and Poets House in Lower Manhattan.

It also just finished running a contest called #PoetTweetNYC, where people tweeted out 140 character poems. The winners will be featured in Metro New York, one of the city's local newspapers.

Although there are sometimes challenges in gaining momentum for the event every year, Max said that at the end of the day, "the core idea of it has really helped it pull through over the years and go national."

As for the impact Poem in Your Pocket Day has on students and adults, Max says it's just another way to encourage the importance of creativity.

"National Poetry Month is an amazing opportunity as it is and this day just gives you even more of [something] to sink your teeth into," he said.

Cover image: Kitja Kitja / Shutterstock.com

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