2009 Archives

Poem in Your Pocket Day offers reason for rhyme


The following from the April 30, 2009, edition of The Dallas Morning News. Law Professor Tom Mayo, director of SMU's Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, and Jesse Smith, a senior at SMU — both avid fans of poetry — were interviewed for this story.

May 5, 2009

The Dallas Morning News

Thursday, yank those noisy ipods
and cellphones out of your pockets.
Replace them with lovely poems
and carry them wherever you go.

Share them with your friends
or read them to your children.
Today, on Poem in Your Pocket Day,
join poets and poetry lovers
in a national celebration of the poem.

At high schools and colleges,
in bookstores and libraries
and, yes, even in a ferry terminal,
poetry fans will hand out poems,
swap poems and read poems.

In 2002, New York City launched its Poem in Your Pocket Day. Last year, the Academy of American Poets organized the first national pocket day – and this year poets and poetry lovers locally are catching on.

"Poems have been stowed in pockets in a variety of ways," the academy says, "from the commonplace books of the Renaissance to the pocket-sized publications for Army soldiers in World War II."

Poet William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth

For Bruce Fogerty, who calls himself the Birdbath Poet, poetry "frees the imagination and fires the soul." The University Park resident sprinkles poems in Park Cities birdbaths. Today, he will carry "The Daffodils" by William Wordsworth.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils.

People are out of breath and they rush from one thing to another," Fogerty says. "Poetry has become a luxury for most people. I think it's a necessity." . . .

Tom Mayo, a professor at Southern Methodist University, appreciates any effort to promote poetry. He yearns for America to be a place where poets are revered and poetry is discussed in coffee shops.

SMU Law Professor Tom Mayo
Tom Mayo

"People probably need an excuse or permission to read a poem, especially to somebody else in a group," he said.

Mayo injects heavy doses of poetry in his "Law, Literature & Medicine" course. He hopes his students learn an appreciation for language and know that words matter.

In schools, children should read poetry not to learn its mechanics but simply for pleasure, Mayo said.

Let them fall in love with poems, he says. They'll be hooked. . .

From his laptop, Jesse Smith, a senior at SMU, reads his poetry to the crowd (at The Writers Garret):

And it's true, you don't ever remember being
present or found or held so closely
that you felt like you might have been
the secret of life.

"When I write poetry," Smith says, "I feel like I can say things in a few words that I can't even explain in a few hours."


Read the full story.

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