Introduction to the Poem In Your Pocket Project

LLUF Abby pitched this project...

The Premise

April 30 this year is my favorite holiday: Poem in Your Pocket Day. April is National Poetry Month, and Poem in Your Pocket Day is an opportunity to share poems that matter to you. It’s very simple: put a poem in your pocket, and if you feel moved, give poems to others. In the past, I would usually choose 3-4 poems, fold them into origami hearts, and then choose one to give to people based on their mood. However, obviously, giving things to people en masse isn’t super feasible this year.

The Question

Is there a way that we can celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day digitally?

What We Decided

Yes! Although giving people small printed out poems isn’t possible, we can still send poems to their pockets through their phones! And in order to preserve the personal nature of being given a poem in person, individuals can send videos of themselves reading. To add another layer, the recipients can send videos of them reacting to the poem back to the reader. They’ll also send a video of themself reading that person’s poem and the original reader will record themselves reacting to that. Not only does this make it more personal -- actually seeing and hearing a person read poetry that they love, but it also allows us to see the ways in which different people interpret and are touched by poems in unique ways. I’m so excited to celebrate this holiday in a new, but touching way!


To me, reading poetry is more than just a one-sided experience. Every poem has something different to offer to each reader, and one of my favorite parts of reading poetry is seeing people’s reactions. On Poem in Your Pocket Day, I love to give out poems, but I also love to wait and watch as people read and smile or laugh or look confused. This year, I wasn’t sure how to do any of that, from the sharing of the poems to the community aspect of reading together. Hearing my peers react in real time and connecting over materials is also one of the things I’ve missed most in this transition to remote learning. Not only is it harder to participate over Zoom, but we’ve also lost the random moments in the dining hall or on the walk to class when you might casually ask a classmate what they thought of the reading or how their paper is going. Those moments give us a chance to react naturally, without the constraints of class, and we might see how someone could get something really different out of the same materials. Creating this digital Poem in Your Pocket Day with reaction videos kind of replicated that casual, but so valuable experience. It’s a chance to react and share differing opinions without the pressure of an in-class (virtual) setting. It’s also a chance to connect over a love for art and literature, something oh-so-personal but hard to replicate.