Every day, more than 8.4 million New Yorkers play out their own stories on the city’s bustling streets, providing no shortage of inspiration to fuel our literary ambitions. As Groucho Marx supposedly said, “Practically everybody in New York has half a mind to write a book — and does.” Every year on Poem in Your Pocket Day, we take the opportunity to reflect on the importance of language and literature to our communities. As the wonderful winners of this year’s #NYCPoetweet contest demonstrate, New York’s ability to inspire remains undiminished.
On Poem in Your Pocket Day, everyone is encouraged to carry a poem in their pocket to share with friends, family and colleagues. In addition to the impromptu mini-slams that will happen every time someone shares their pocket poem, here are some other ways you can get poetic today and for the rest of April, which is National Poetry Month:
Bryant Park Poem in Your Pocket Open Mic
Every year, students from across the city come to the Bryant Park Reading Room to get onstage, grab the mic and read in front of the gathered crowd.
Bryant Park Reading Room
42nd Street and Avenue of the Americas
April 24, 11 a.m–2 p.m.
Brooklyn Museum Poem in Your Pocket Celebration
Brooklyn Museum will host a reading table in the Great Hall, with books of poetry along with paper and pencils so pocket poem-less visitors can compose their own.
200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn
April 24, 11 a.m.–10 p.m.
Neighborhood Poetry Read-In with Brooklyn and Queens Poets Laureate — Poets House
The poets laureate of Brooklyn (Tina Chang) and Queens (Paolo Javier) join young pocket-poets and their families for an afternoon reading.
10 River Terrace, Manhattan
April 24, 4-7 p.m.
Staten Island OutLOUD’s Poetry Giveaway
Every year Staten Island OutLOUD distributes thousands of free poems at locations across the borough, including all Staten Island branches of the New York Public Library, the Conference House, Staten Island Arts, Historic Richmond Town and more.
Multiple locations, Staten Island
April 24, times vary
Queens Library Poem in Your Pocket Celebration
The Ridgewood branch of the Queens Library system will provide free poems to patrons at the Children’s Reference Desk. Small prizes will be awarded to anyone who reads his or her poem aloud to the librarian.
20-12 Madison St., Queens
April 24, 1–2 p.m.
Bronx Council on the Arts – A Celebration of National Poetry Month
For Community Arts Tuesday, the Bronx Council on the Arts will host an open mic, performances, book giveaway and more to celebrate National Poetry Month.
2700 E. Tremont Ave., Bronx
April 29, 6–8 p.m.