Although National Poetry in Your Pocket Day is April 18, SUNY New Paltz celebrated it this past Thursday and supplied pocket-poems to students.
On April 25 from noon to 3 p.m., the HQ desk at the Student Union Atrium had poems printed and folded in a basket for students and other visitors to take as they passed by. The event was sponsored by Student Activities and Union Services, and was implemented by program coordinator for the HQ Desk and graduate assistant for operations, Caitlin Reardon.
“I wanted to do the Poem in Your Pocket Day because I love poetry myself, and thought it was a great way to have students take some time to appreciate poetry during these busy spring days,” Reardon said. “The closer we get to the end of the semester, the more stressful students’ days can become.”
“I chose the 25th for the date because I wanted it to be closer to the end of classes, as a small way that students can remember to enjoy the little things, even when it’s most stressful,” Reardon said.
The small basket of folded poems on the HQ desk implemented a simple ‘grab and go’ program, as this would not take any time away from a student’s class schedule or daily routine, while giving the students an opportunity to be inspired through art in a simple way.
Poems supplied to the students were printed from the National Poem in Your Pocket Day event packet, which includes over 40 pages of poetry from both contemporary and classical authors. The poems included authors such as Juan Felipe Herrera and Ocean Vuong for contemporary artists, and Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost for some of the classical poems, to name a few.
“I used these poems since they were accessible, would not have any issues with copyright and because it has a mix of classical, familiar poems as well as poems from new poets,” Reardon said. “The full list of all the poets is included on the PDF of the event packet online.”
Although the poems for this year’s event were from the organization itself, in future events Reardon hopes for students to be able to choose which poems to include and to make this a campus-wide event. Student submissions would give way to a more personalized event for our campus.
“The event was [run by myself, as well as by] the student-staff members of the Union Operations Crew, who helped hand out the poems to students passing through the Atrium,” Reardon said. “It would not have been successful without their help.”