Do You Have a Poem in Your Pocket?

April is National Poetry Month. Inaugurated in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets (, National Poetry Month is when publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools, and poets around the country band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of businesses and non-profit organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events.

Just like Small Press Month, National Poetry Month offers great opportunities for authors to promote their works. Where you have a full book of poetry or just a poem included in your book, you can take advantage of the opportunities this month presents for you to promote your book.

Authors can join poetry readings, offer to read a poem and teach children how to write a poem at a local school, host a poetry event at a local bookstore or library, or volunteer to read one of your poems during your church’s worship service this month.

This month also offers the opportunity for Christian poets to enter a new unpublished poem in the free poetry contest sponsored by Utmost Christian Writers at in honor of National Poetry Month. pocket_logo

One of the events that is part of National Poetry Month this year is “Poem in Your Pocket Day” on Thursday, April 30, 2009. For this day, people are encouraged to write a poem and carry it in their pocket to share with co-workers, family, and friends.

I think “Poem in Your Pocket Day” offers wonderful potential for promoting books. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Offer a discount on your book on April 30, 2009 to anyone who emails you a poem.
  2. Hold a contest for a free give-a-way of your book on April 30, 2009 to the person who sends you the best poem (you be the judge).
  3. Organize a poetry reading for April 30, 2009. Place your name and book information on the marketing material as the sponsor for the event.
  4. Post a poem on your social networking sites on “Poem in Your Pocket Day” as a way to promote your book.
  5. Twitter the first two lines of a poem to generate more interest in your book and poetry. It’s acceptable for “Poem in Your Pocket Day.”

I am not a poet. However, in honor of National Poetry Month I will share with you a poem by my eight-year-old daughter, Rachel.

Now That I Know

Now that I know I am going to die,

Please take my soul up into the sky.

Lord, you know me and I know thee,

So up to heaven please take me.

If you have additional ideas for using “Poem in Your Pocket Day” to promote a book, please share them in the comments section.

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