Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Is that a poem in your pocket or...

Text messaging strikes me as the perfect form for delivering poetry to readers. Smart publishers should embrace the cell phone, Twitter, Facebook, and other short message services as an ideal platform for promoting new voices. This April 30 marks the seventh annual Poem In Your Pocket Day. Prior to this year, I'd never heard the event, but a flyer was delivered to me in the new edition of Gulf Coast literary magazine. Apparently, it was originally a project of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs to get school kids to pay attention to National Poetry Month. Now, the phenomenon seems to be spreading. Gulf Coast, which is based in Houston, offers to send a "never-before-seen poem from a top-secret and acclaimed poet" if you send your cell phone number to gcpocketday at g mail dot com.

This year, the New York City and Poetry Society of America are collaborating to bring John Waldman's "Envelope Project," into public schools. It's a fantastic classroom exercise that encourages students to take the first line of a famous poem as the starting point for one of their own.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a fan. Last year he contributed his own poem, entitled Press Conference, to the New York Public Library's blog -- and it's pretty darn good.

1 comment:

Claire said...

I wonder if the UK's next poet laureate will adopt the text message approach.