Is there a poem in your pocket?


Dr. Vivian Blevins - And then



As a nation we grapple with a host of issues from fear of nuclear missiles to violent demonstrations, and economic inequalities. Each issue is complex and is made even more so by a divided country in which age, race/ethnicity, religion, class, and political affiliation impact our views.

American poet Robert Frost said, “Every poem is a momentary stay against the confusion of the world.” As we move to Poem in Your Pocket Day on Thursday, April 27, I am encouraging you to select a poem that makes you laugh, comforts you, or reinforces your values and put it in your pocket so that on this special day you can pull it out and share it with your family, your co-workers, or even strangers on the bus or in the street.

Who cares if your son or the elderly woman on the bus thinks you are a tad crazy?

From the time I was a child and memorized nursery rhymes or “Roses are red/violets are blue,” I have loved the musicality of words.

I would suggest that you select a poem that’s easy to understand. This day is not the time for Ezra Pound’s “Cantos” or T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land.”

No, it’s the time for E.E. Cummings’ “in Just” where “eddieandbill come/ running from marbles and /piracies” and “bettandisbel come dancing/ from hop-scotch and jump rope” and the “world is mud-/luscious.”

If you’d like to write your own poem to share, go for it. No one expects a masterpiece — although it’s my strong belief that we all are more talented than we ever imagined.

Three of my modern American literature students, Alison, Claire and Marie, have put together a program for April 27 at the college where I teach and have invited the college and the communities we serve to attend. It will be a time of sharing poetry, our lives. I’m as excited about this program as I was about those performances when as a child and was privileged to recite at school or in church.

Celebrate life on this day. It’s as simple as sharing that poem in your pocket.

Contact Dr. Vivian Blevins at [email protected]

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Dr. Vivian Blevins

And then

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