Poem in Your Pocket Day x 2

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Of the many wonderful moments in National Poetry month, my favorite is  Poem in Your Pocket Day – which is today. The idea is simple: Put a copy of a poem you love in your pocket, and share it with friends.

I carry a copy of the poem included in The Four Ms. Bradwells – Jane Kenyon’s amazing “Let Evening Come” – in my journal for inspiration every day of every year, and it’s in a little pocket at the back of my moleskine, so maybe that should count. But I’ve been reading so much great poetry that I thought I would branch out. And the truth is, I couldn’t decide between two poems, so I am tucking two poems into my pocket today.

AllegianceCoverThe first is “what you’d find buried in the dirt under charles f. kettering sr. high school” by francine j. harris, from her allegiance collection. I wrote about this extraordinary poem last year, when it was awarded the Page Davidson Clayton Prize for Emerging Poets from the Michigan Quarterly Review. I’ve since had the absolute pleasure of meeting francine. She is as nice as she is talented.

The second poem I’m carrying is Paula McLain’s “Ark,” a poem I also wrote about after I first read it. Many of you may know Paula’s fiction, since her The Paris Wife has been on bestseller lists pretty much forever. But her poetry is at least as stunning as her fiction. “Ark,” from her Stumble, Gorgeous collection, begins

Stumble Gorgeous by Paula McLain

If my story is paper, so is yours—
single sheet folded variously, damp
in the creases, perishable as sleep.

I hope these little tastes will make you want to read these poems, and more. If you see me today, ask me and I will read you the full poems. I will try not to cry when I do, but I make no promises on that.

If you have a few dollars to spare, consider buying a collection by an emerging poet like francine.

If you are carrying a poem in your own pocket today, please share what it is. If you’re a poet reading this, please share a little of your own poetry. – Meg

1st BOOKS is hosted by MEG WAITE CLAYTON

New York Times-bestselling author of five novels, including the forthcoming The Race for Paris (August 11) and The Wednesday Sisters (a writing group novel). Essays for The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Forbes, Writer's Digest, Runner's World, and public radio.


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