Printer Friendly Format Email a Friend

PR- 189-09
April 29, 2009


Following City's Launch of NYC Service, More than 1,000 New Yorkers Volunteer in Public Schools to Share Their Favorite Poems and Promote Poetry and Literacy across New York City

In anticipation of the seventh annual Poem In Your Pocket day on Thursday, April 30th, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today published a poem:

By Mike Bloomberg

“Volunteer!” says our latest plan
Here's how all New Yorkers can:

Read to kids
Mentor one
Help some seniors have some fun

Serve some soup
Or plant trees
Spend some time at food pantries

Coach a team
(Always nice)
Give some legal or tax advice

Learn to do CPR
Join the NYC Civic Corps

Help in any way, kind volunteers
You'll receive New Yorkers’ cheers
But right now, to get the biggest thanks
Help the pitching on the Mets and Yanks

Mayor Bloomberg’s poem was published today in Metro New York to encourage all New Yorkers to carry a poem in their pocket tomorrow to share with friends, family, co-workers and classmates.

Launched in 2003, Poem In Your Pocket day was developed by the Mayor’s Office, the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Department of Education. It occurs every April in conjunction with National Poetry Month. A partnership with Metro New York, the Poetry Society of America, the Academy of American Poets, Bryant Park Corporation, The New York Public Library, Everybody Wins!, Cornell University, Urban Word NYC and the Doubletree Metropolitan Hotel, Poem In Your Pocket day promotes poetry and literacy at schools, libraries and cultural organizations throughout the five boroughs.

New Yorkers who want to write and publish their own poems should visit The New York Public Library blog, which can be found through The blog features a virtual version of poet and educator John Waldman’s “Envelope Project,” an innovative exercise to bring together poetry writing, reading, spoken word, memorization and literacy for writers of all levels. Participants are given an envelope with a famous first line on the outside, which they use as a starting point to write their own verse. This Thursday, John Waldman will visit P.S. 75, the Emily Dickinson School, to conduct the “Envelope Project” with New York City schoolchildren.

The Department of Education has rolled out its special poetry curriculum for use by teachers, parents and students throughout all five boroughs.  More than 1,000 New Yorkers, including published poets and reading mentors from Everybody Wins!, are volunteering in the schools this week to share their favorite poems with public school students. 

This year, the Department of Cultural Affairs launched its first-ever Facebook site to promote Poem In Your Pocket day.  The site features a “Poem of the Day”, and encourages fans to participate in the “Envelope Project” through the New York Public Library blog.

The Academy of American Poets and ABRAMS is launching a new poetry anthology, Poem in Your Pocket, at the Strand Bookstore. The compilation of 200 classic and contemporary poems is designed to allow readers to easily tear out a poem to carry and share. More than 100 poets are featured, from Claude McKay to Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Mayor Bloomberg’s poem about volunteerism follows the launch earlier this month of NYC Service, a comprehensive initiative to promote a new era of service and volunteerism in New York City. The NYC Service program has three main goals: channel the power of volunteers to address the impacts of the current economic downturn, make New York City the easiest city in America in which to serve, and ensure every young person in New York City is taught about civic engagement and has an opportunity to serve. To view the initiatives in NYC Service, visit and view a copy of the full report.

Poem In Your Pocket day Highlights:

  • The Bryant Park Corporation will host an open microphone reading on Poem In Your Pocket day from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM in Bryant Park. The reading will be hosted by Tony-nominated author, director and composer Elizabeth Swados. Featured artists include renowned poet and founder of the Bowery Poetry Club Bob Holman, poet and political activist Staceyann Chin, and children’s poet and writer Alan Katz. These artists will be joined by more than 150 young poets from the City’s public schools, as well as young writers from Urban Word NYC. Poems will be read by Executive Director of the Bryant Park Corporation Dan Biederman, Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Kate D. Levin, Department of Education Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning Marcia Lyles and Department of Parks First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh. Poetry books from Simon and Schuster Children’s publishing, and original anthologies created and donated by Cornell University, will be distributed to the students.
  • The Poetry Society of America has engaged professional poets to conduct the “Envelope Project” in City schools.  Poet and educator John Waldman will be conducting his “Envelope Project” at P.S. 75, where he will be joined by Executive Director of Poetry Society of America Alice Quinn. 
  • Creative Writing Masters students from Cornell University have created a poetry anthology in honor of Poem In Your Pocket day, including a haiku from Cornell president David Skorton, that will be distributed to Food and Finance High School on Manhattan’s West Side, and in Bryant Park.
  • The New York Hall of Science will give away science-themed poems for visitors to enjoy at the Science Technology Library from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
  • Poets House staff will hand out free pocket-sized poems to ferry passengers arriving at the new Port Authority Ferry Terminal at the World Financial Center, just steps away from the organization’s new home, opening this fall.
  • New York Botanical Garden will host an open microphone reading from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM to offer visitors a chance to read poems inspired by the plant world or create their own poems while enjoying the Garden in bloom.
  • The Staten Island Museum will offer free admission to anyone carrying a poem in their pocket.

A comprehensive listing of Poem in Your Pocket day and National Poetry Month events, along with poems for download, are available at or through 311.


Stu Loeser/Andrew Brent   (212) 788-2958

Kate deRosset/Danai Pointer (Cultural Affairs)   (212) 513-9323

More Resources