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Manhattan Students Mark "Poem In Your Pocket Day" With Poems Of Their Own

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People talk about traveling through life with a song in your heart, but how about a poem in your pocket? As NY1's Stephanie Simon reports in the following story, Thursday is “Poem in Your Pocket Day” and there was plenty of excitement at a Manhattan school named for one of this country's best-known poets.

For “Poem in Your Pocket Day,” of course New Yorkers were encouraged to have a poem in their pocket, but they were also encouraged to take it out and read it. That’s exactly what students did that at P.S. 75 the Emily Dickinson School on the Upper West Side.

California poet and educator John Waldman was the school's special guest. He brought his Envelope Project to the kids.

“A child receives a poem sealed in an envelope and on the outside of the envelope is the first line of the poem that's contained within,” said Waldman of the project. “The child takes a look at that first line and creates a poem of their own. When they're done, as a gift, they open up the envelope and they see the actual poem from which this line came.”

Waldman gave the students at the Emily Dickson School envelopes with Dickinson's poems. The kids were inspired.

“The bee is not afraid of me for I am not afraid of him. Perhaps he's not afraid because he needs Gatorade,” student Anna Romanofski read from her poem.

The project is also online in a new poetry blog through the New York Public Library at nypl.org.

Waldman says poetry is perfect for kids.

“I think adults are the ones that because of their lives, because of what we go through to maintain each day, poetry gets drained from us. Children are alive with it,” said Waldman.

“The muse comes to you and I was just looking outside my window and I got inspired by the people and how they live,” said Romanofski.

“I like poetry, because it’s a way to express yourself," said student Davon Grant. "It's using time up in a constructive way."

Poem in Your Pocket is just one day, but the new poetry blog is ongoing. People can log on and be inspired to be poetic.

So if you think you need a poetic license to write a few lines of your own, consider Poem in Your Pocket Day your reason to rhyme.

— Stephanie Simon
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