I love the idea of a poem in my pocket. As I searched for something to post for today’s feature, I found myself moving from poem to poem, nourishing places inside me long neglected amidst the practical rationality of my daily life. I wonder how different my days might feel if I began each of them with a poem. I couldn’t possibly choose a single favorite, though I can identify many favorite poets. Among them is Pablo Neruda. I love the sensory immediacy of his language, the way his words embody the rich physicality of being. Although his love poems are those that move me most, here’s a delightful paean to what one might think of as an otherwise ordinary object:
Only in the shallowest of senses are the sonnets in Fatal Interview “traditional,” as they are often damned today. They are traditional, in outward form—Millay never went overboard for the epidermal innovations and prosodic gimmicks that tantalized contemporaries like e.e. cummings and Marianne Moore—but jarringly new in substance and sentiment.
I’m glad that Chris pointed out that today is Poem in Your Pocket Day, because I think it’s a great idea. But I had a similar problem to Sam – I couldn’t choose just one. Luckily for me, however, my two favorite poems are so embedded in my memory that they travel with me everywhere I go, whether I have pockets or not.
The first poem grabbed me when I first read it in high school, and it struck me because it appealed not just to the creative albeit fatalistic part of me, but also to the engineer I was well on my way to becomming. So without further ado, my first selection for this year’s Poem in Your Pocket Day:
The wall on my office at work features portraits of four great poets: TS Eliot, William Butler Yeats, Dylan Thomas and Charles Wright. I love writers like Shakespeare (duh) and Blake and Donne and Arnold, to name a few, but these four are my favorites. It follows, then, that one of them is potentially responsible for my favorite poem, right?
Here are the candidates:
Eliot: “The Waste Land”: Many students have had this heavy, dark master work forced upon them, and experience tells me that most didn’t appreciate it. However, the poet in me has never shaken the influence it exerted. Even today, a good 30+ years after my first encounter with the Unreal City, it’s hard for me to write without being powerfully conscious of Eliot’s presence. Continue reading →
“You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket,” John Adams wrote to his son, John Quincy, in May of 1781.
Today, nearly 230 years later, plenty of people are packing poets in their pockets. It’s national “Poem In Your Pocket” Day.
First celebrated in 2003, “Poem In Your Pocket” Day is sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. The basic premise, as you might guess, is for poetry lovers to carry their favorite poem in their pocket for the day. As opportunity presents itself, they can then share those poems with coworkers, friends, family members, and classmates.