Not only is this National Poetry Month, but April 18 is New York City’s 11th annual Poem in Your Pocket Day, where New Yorkers are encouraged to write their own poem or borrow one from their favorite poet. All you need to do to participate is carry a poem and share with your friends, family, classmates and colleagues on April 18.
Since 2010, Metro has partnered with the mayor’s office to promote this special day by hosting the #NYCPoetweet Twitter poetry contest — and we publish an original poem from the mayor himself in the paper. From April 1 to April 8, New Yorkers tweeted us their best original rhymes, verses and haikus using #NYCpoetweet (winners can be found here.)
Below is Bloomberg’s introduction and his original poem. What do you think? Let us know in the comments — does Bloomberg have a second career coming up after retiring from the mayor’s office?
New York City is full of poetry. There’s a unique cadence created by our rumbling trains, bustling sidewalks, relaxing parks and, most of all, by the voices of 8.4 million people who call our city home. New York poets have been organizing that music into language that touches our hearts and fires our imaginations since at least the days of Clement Clarke Moore and Walt Whitman. Today, through Poem in Your Pocket Day, we celebrate poets in the five boroughs and around the world. I’ll be carrying a poem with me, and I hope you will too.
Literature and the arts a vital part of our city’s cultural life, and they also play an enormous role in our economy. Print publishing alone is a $5 billion industry, employing nearly 50,000 people, or 1.5 percent of our total private sector workforce. New York City is home to approximately 1,100 publishing businesses. That includes 300 book publishers, 500 magazines and 200 newspapers. Those numbers do not include Internet publishing in New York, where employment has doubled in just the past five years.
To ensure that New York’s literary future is as bright as our past, our Department of Education has made instilling a joy of reading in our 1.1 million New York City school children a top priority. Strong reading and language skills are essential not only for future writers and poets, but for everyone who wants to follow their dreams and fulfill their potential.
Poem in Your Pocket Day is not just for poets. In fact, it’s designed to encourage all of us non-poets take a moment to read a few lines of a favorite poem or discover a new one. Or – even better yet – read a poem with your children or grandchildren, and help inspire them to understand that poetry is all around us, especially in a place as a diverse and exciting as New York City.
By Michael R. Bloomberg
April is the cruelest month, I’ve heard a poet say
But not for me because there’s Poem in Your Pocket Day
Each year, I get to publish my new verse – it’s quite a perk
Too bad reporters always ask me to describe my work
Oh who knows?
My stuff’s not like Dickinson – or Gertrude Stein
I’m not a new Longfellow, though he’s just fine
I don’t write like Whitman, I don’t rhyme like Pope
I don’t sound like Ezra Pound (or so I hope)
My work’s not like Chaucer or Baldwin or Hughes
My poems aren’t like Emerson’s or Angelou’s
I’m not Robert Frost – though we share a few traits
And I am not Keats (which does not rhyme with Yeats)
My style isn’t Wordsworth – that’s not what it is
Nor is it like Browning (not Robert or Liz)
It’s not Dr. Seuss. It’s not Mother Goose.
I just can’t describe it – I have no excuse
Not Ginsberg or Sandburg, you see
I shouldn’t be T.S.
i can’t be e.e.
I won’t ever rhyme like Muhammad Ali
So I’m free
To be anything I want to be
And that is the note I’ll end upon
New York New York!
Write on, write on!