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Put a poem in your pocket tomorrow

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Less pricey than Valentine’s Day, less scary than Hallowe’en and more meaningful than Groundhog Day, National Poem in Your Pocket Day — which is tomorrow, Thursday, April 18 — is your opportunity to share a favourite poem with friends, acquaintances, even strangers.

In Canada, PIYP Day is a relatively new, little-known feature of National Poetry Month.

Wolseley School, though, is in the know. Mrs. Ross-Blondeau’s Grade 5/6 class will be reading their preferred poems to the nursery and kindergarten students… make that poets.

The four-, five-, and six-year-olds have been writing collaborative poetry. My favourite is The Aches & Pains of a N/K Room, which goes, in part:

"My tooth is sore/My nose hurts/I have a headache/ …Oooh-oh my tummy aches."

Ceridwen Nord, who is in Grade 5, told me, "It’s sort of fun writing poetry."

She especially likes to write about meerkats "because they’re awesome."

Grade 6 student Madison Meyer-Parr said: "I like poems that make me sad or think about things."

Last week, she had "no idea" what she will be sharing on PIYP Day, but on the choice of delivery — hard copy or electronic — Madison said she will serve it "straight up."

Teacher Vanessa Wiehler’s Grade 6 students have already shared their poetry with each other.

Last month, they held a poetry tea, during which they read aloud selections from their own personal anthologies.

Tomorrow, Wolseley poet Chandra Mayor will be writing a poem. To celebrate National Poetry Month, she is writing one every day in April — "It’s like playtime, with the possibility of lovely moments of poetic discovery," she said.

As for the benefits of the month, Mayor said, "It’s an invitation (to explore poetry). If it results in further sales for a poet, that’s good too."

Wolseley embraces poets, holding them close as residents. Among them are Mayor, Alison Calder, Victor Enns, Joanne Epp, Ariel Gordon and Duncan Mercredi.

If we consider their saturated words, these neighbours offer us new or better ways of seeing the world.

Take Mayor’s description of Winnipeg in spring:  

"… This city dreams of cracking ice and someone always drowns. The roads are decadent with potholes. Someone is always falling in or out and booster cables sleep in the trunk, someone is always driving away, dreaming of Kenora, Montreal, California." (From Cherry, Mayor’s 2004 first novel, replete with poetic language).

So, share a poem tomorrow. But also thank a nearby poet. Treat them to some tea.

Gail Perry is a community correspondent for Wolseley.

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