Blog Teaching Writing

Filling Up Our Pockets


If you’re looking for good places to find poetry, we’ve got you covered. Originally published on April 5, 2020

It’s five days into National Poetry Month — have you made your pocket yet?

National Poetry Month, the annual celebration of all-things-poetry launched by the American Academy of Poets in 1996, culminates with Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 30. On that day, we are encouraged to carry a poem in our pocket to share with others. We can share on social media, through video chats, or in-person — wearing our masks and standing six feet away, of course.

So before posting our first weekly poetry writing prompt on Monday, April 6, our first challenge to you is to make a pocket, whether real or digital, to save your favorite poems and collect the examples that inspire you. The next step is to start to fill it.

Fill your pocket with poems that will inspire you all month

How can you fill your pocket while you #StayAtHome? Your own bookshelf, if you have one. Your library, of course…but perhaps it’s closed. The internet to the rescue. Try these sites: The website of the Academy of American Poets is filled with poetry, searchable by poet, topic, form, keyword, and more. Find teacher resources and audio and video performances as well, and sign up to receive a poem-a-day in your inbox.

Poetry Foundation: The Poetry Foundation also maintains a searchable database of poetry on its main site, including thematic collections and audio versions and teaching resources.

Poetry Outloud: Poetry Outloud is a national arts program built around the performance of poetry — literally out loud. Find poems, teaching/competition resources, and video recordings of young people reciting poems. (Great inspiration to up your game on Poem in Your Pocket Day!)

Find poetry on social media

Try the hashtag #poetry on almost any social media platform and lots of posts will come up. This year, however, a few special hashtags are emerging.

#shelterinpoems connects to a special project of the American Academy inviting people to share poems that have been particularly nourishing of their spirits during this pandemic. See a selection of people’s choices and explanations at this page on their website.

#International Poetry Circle/@internationalpoetrycircle was begun by poet Tara Skurtu as a way for people to share poetry globally, particularly through video readings.

#worldpoetryday connects to the United Nation’s designation of March 21 as World Poetry Day. It is a popular hashtag for featuring poetry from around the world.

Check out two Poet Laureate projects

The Library of Congress selects an annual Poet Laureate for the nation, and for their Laurate service, the Laureates are supported to do a poetry project. Some of the projects offer you ways to find and treasure poetry:

The Favorite Poem Project was founded in 1997 by Robert Pinsky who served as the 8th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress. Pinsky established the project as a way to celebrate, document, and encourage a public appreciation of poetry as well as acknowledge the role of poetry in the everyday lives of Americans. The project called for Americans to share their favorite poems with the nation, and the response was overwhelming. Over 18,000 Americans from ages 5 to 97 shared their favorite poems. The project culminated in videos, online resources, and an entire archive dedicated to Americans’ favorite poems, all of which can be found at

Poetry 180 was founded by the 11th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, Billy Collins, in order to promote poetry in schools. The program allows teachers and schools to print a poem every day for the 180 days of the school year to read and discuss with their students. Not only does it promote literacy, but it connects the Poet Laureate to an audience of young readers and introduces them to the world of contemporary poetry. The project also produced two collections of poetry particularly well suited for use with students and a poem-a-day.

There is a wealth of poetry on the internet, start clicking around and find those poems that speak to you. Then tuck them away in your pocket for safekeeping.