2010-04-30 / Community

Bloomberg Sets ‘Poem In Your Pocket Day’

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and actress Sigourney Weaver kicked off New York City’s eighth annual Poem In Your Pocket day on Thursday, program which promotes poetry and literacy at schools, libraries and cultural organizations throughout the five boroughs.

The poetic inspiration for Mayor Bloomberg’s poem, which he read at the event, came from the Envelope Project, a new poetry exercise the Department of Education has added to the curriculum of grades three, four and five. Students are given an envelope that has written on it the first line of a famous poem and asked to use it as the starting point to create their own poem. Then they compare it to the original inside the envelope.

Launched in 2003, Poem In Your Pocket day was developed by the Office of the Mayor, the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Department of Education. It occurs the last Thursday of April as the culmination of National Poetry Month. A partnership with the Poetry Society of America, Metro New York, the Academy of American Poets, Bryant Park Corporation, and additional partners across New York City, Poem In Your Pocket day promotes poetry and literacy at schools, libraries and cultural organizations throughout the five boroughs.

To encourage all New Yorkers to write poems and share them with friends, family, co-workers and classmates, Mayor Bloomberg asked followers of the @NYCMayorsOffice Twitter account to send twitter-length poems, or “poetweets.” The Department of Cultural Affairs created a Poem In Your Pocket Day NYC Facebook fan page, encouraging fans to submit poems based on the first lines of Emily Dickinson poems.

In honor of the day, the mayor submitted his own poem.

“Hope NYC”
by Mike Bloomberg:
“Hope” is the thing with feathers
That makes our City soar
It will take us to the future
As it’s carried us before
Hope is the thing with feathers
That travels all our streets
It sings in every language
It sometimes even tweets
And though we may not see it
It perches everywhere
In new shops and small businesses,
In every schoolroom chair
It could be our famous pigeon
Or fabled red-tailed hawk
Hope is the thing with feathers
That flies throughout New YAWK

This year, the Department of Education made poetry curriculum available through their on-line educator resource for use by teachers, parents and students throughout all five boroughs.

The Envelope Project” was created by poet and educator John Waldman and brought to New York City in 2008 by the Poetry Society of America.

In addition to taking Poem In Your Pocket day national for the 3rd year, New York City-based Academy of American Poets reissued the Poem In Your Pocket day-inspired poetry anthology, Poem in Your Pocket, which is available at CityStore.

The compilation of 200 classic and contemporary poems is designed to allow readers to easily tear out a poem to carry and share.

More than 100 poets are featured, from Claude McKay to Edna St. Vincent Millay.

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