Each year on national Poem in Your Pocket Day, the town of Charlottesville, Virginia, unites in a day-long celebration of poetry. The project is spearheaded by Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, whose staff recruit members of the community—students, senior citizens, local business owners, neighbors, and friends—to distribute poem scrolls throughout Charlottesville.
Over 7,000 scrolls are distributed to a local hospital, a children's museum, libraries, senior centers, nursing homes, and numerous small businesses in the downtown area. They also put together a street team that hands out poems along the Charlottesville pedestrian mall. This year, the town will kick-off their celebration with an open mic poetry reading on Poem in Your Pocket Day eve.
According to library branch manager Wendy Saz
The very best part of the project is seeing the way people immediately respond to poetry. People call the library to say how much their poem meant to them, personally. Some folks come back for additional scrolls to give to friends and family members. People stop to recite favorite poems, from memory, to street team members. Last year, when the day was over, we were happily surprised when one street team member commented that he hadn't seen a single poem on the ground or in a trash bin! People were tucking them in purses and pockets, to keep and to re-read.
Poetry is best when shared, and Poem in Your Pocket Day is the perfect time to surprise someone with the gift of poetry.
Special thanks to the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, Wendy Saz, and film editor Jonathan Ade for sharing this great video with the Academy of American Poets.