Poem in Your Pocket Day – falling always sometime in National Poetry Month – is an international movement that encourages people to centre poetry within their daily interactions. On PIYP Day, select a poem, carry it with you, and share it with others at schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, coffee shops, street corners, and on social media using the hashtag #PocketPoem.
This annual initiative is organized by the Academy of American Poets, celebrated with a free downloadable PDF booklet containing contemporary American and – since the League joined forces in 2016 – Canadian poetry to share.
Poem in Your Pocket Day 2023 will fall in the last week of April 2023.
Poem In Your Pocket Day Contest
The League is excited to announce that submissions are now open for the Poem In Your Pocket Day contest for inclusion in the Poem in Your Pocket Day Postcards. Ten (10) Selected winning poets and their poems will receive $300, the full Poem Postcard Pack, and will be invited to provide an audio recording of their selected poem. LCP Members are invited to enter the contest free of charge and non-members are asked to include a $10 entry fee.
We can’t wait to stuff our pockets with your poetry!
Poem In Your Pocket Day Contest
GENERAL PUBLIC: Submit your poem here!
LCP Members: Submit your poem here!
- This contest accepts poems in English. For French Poem in Your Pocket content, visit La Poesie Partout
- Open to poets at any career level (professional, emerging, first-time, etc.)
- Submit only one (1) poem with no identifying information (submissions will be judged blind).
- Poem must not exceed 40 lines.
- Poem content must be appropriate for readers of all ages (PIYP Postcards are distributed in schools).
- Poems cannot be previously published.
- This contest has an entry fee of $10 for submissions from the general public.
- LCP Members are invited to enter the contest free of charge.
- If you are unable to pay the contest fee, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Eligible to Canadian poets, poets living and working in Canada, as well as Indigenous, Inuit and Métis poets who may not identify as Canadian but live in the region known colonially as Canada.
- LCP Members: Submit your poem via this form: LCP Member Poem In Your Pocket Submissions
- Non-members: Submit your poem and entry fee via this form: Non-member Poem in Your Pocket Submissions
Meet the Jurors:
We are delighted to have Frances Boyle and Keith Inman selecting this year’s poems.
Frances Boyle’s latest book is Openwork and Limestone (Frontenac House 2022). In addition to two earlier poetry collections, This White Nest (2019) and Light-carved Passages (2014), she is the author of Tower (2018), a novella from Fish Gotta Swim Editions and Seeking Shade (2020), a short story collection from The Porcupine’s Quill that was a finalist for the Danuta Gleed and ReLit Awards and won a Miramichi Reader Very Best! Award. Originally from Regina, Frances has long lived in Ottawa. For more visit www.francesboyle.com
Keith Inman has been active in the writing community for close to thirty-five years. He has judged multiple contests for a University, a Public Library, small Presses and a few writing organizations. He’s set up readings, helped organize a poetry anthology for 20 years (seven at the helm), did committee work for a major Canadian writing organization, and, continues to run a writing group (Iowa style). Declared a ‘people’s poet’ for his blue collar style, Inman’s work has earned him a variety of grants and contest awards. He, also, is not afraid to fail. His first ms, a compilation of factory poems, has been rejected 12 times (and counting). However, during those rejections, he took a small section of that project and earned an OAC Project grant. When that ran its course, he again reworked the basic idea into what would become his first trade book for Black Moss Press. The War Poems: Screaming at Heaven is now in approximately forty libraries worldwide, earned rave reviews, and was compared to Atwood and Itani in Canlit #223. Inman’s theory on writing and publishing: ‘If you hit a wall, create a door.’
Ways to Celebrate
It’s easy to carry a poem, share a poem, or start your own Poem in Your Pocket Day event. Visit the Academy’s website for a full history of the program and other materials. Here are some ideas of how you might get involved:
- Start a “poems for pockets” giveaway in your school or workplace
- Urge local businesses to offer discounts for those carrying poems
- Post pocket-sized verses in public places
- Memorize a poem
- Start a street team to pass out poems in your community
- Distribute bookmarks with your favourite lines of poetry
- Post lines from your favourite poem on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr
- Send a poem to a friend
- Share your favourite poem on social media and use #PoemInYourPocket or #PocketPoem
- Write your favourite poem on a sticky note to put on your fridge or cubicle at work. Or, if you’re working from home, add a poem to your email footer for the day.
- Make your pocket poem the background on your phone or share it in a group message with others who may also want to participate.
- Create a video of your favourite spoken-word piece or have a virtual poetry night where everyone shares their favourite poems aloud.
- Plan a poetry exchange with your household, or virtually with a group of friends. For an in-person exchange, everyone writes their favourite poem on a piece of paper and puts it into a bucket. The poems are shuffled, and you draw a poem at random and real aloud.
- Embrace the artist within. Type up your favourite poem using a typewriter or typewriter app. You can make calligraphy or word art that showcases your chosen poem to share with a friend or family member. If you’d like your pocket poem to be a more permanent display, you can even decide to turn it into wall art! Create your word art on canvas or find a fun picture frame and hang up your poem for everyone to see. Consider making this an annual tradition with friends. You can create a new piece of wall art every year for your pocket poems.
Dig through the archives! We feature new Canadian poets in each annual booklet, put together in partnership with Academy of American Poets so there’s lots to look back on. View, share, or copy and paste any Poem in Your Pocket selections!