Anniversary of Paul Revere’s ride, in the middle of National Poetry Month

April 18, 2012

This is mostly an encore post.  Is there a good reason Paul Revere made his ride in the middle of National Poetry Month

_____________

April 18 and 19. Do the dates have significance? Paul Revere's ride, from Paul Revere House

Among other things, it is the date of the firing of the “shot heard ’round the world,” the first shots in the American Revolution. On April 19, 1775, American Minutemen stood to protect arsenals they had created at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, against seizure by the British Army then occupying Boston.

April is National Poetry Month. What have we done to celebrate poetry?

What have we done to properly acknowledge the key events of April 18 and 19, 1775? Happily, poetry helps us out in history studies, or can do.

In contrast to my childhood, when we as students had poems to memorize weekly throughout our curriculum, modern students too often come to my classes seemingly unaware that rhyming and rhythm are used for anything other than celebrating materialist, establishment values obtained sub rosa. Poetry, to them, is mostly rhythm; but certainly not for polite company, and never for learning.

Poems slipped from our national curriculum, dropped away from our national consciousness.

And that is one small part of the reason that Aprils in the past two decades turned instead to memorials to violence, and fear that violence will break out again. We have allowed darker ideas to dominate April, and especially the days around April 19.

You and I have failed to properly commemorate the good, I fear. We have a duty to pass along these cultural icons, as touchstones to understanding America.

So, reclaim the high ground. Reclaim the high cultural ground.

Read a poem today. Plan to be sure to have the commemorative reading of “Paul Revere’s Ride” in your classes next April 18 or 19, and “The Concord Hymn” on April 19.

We must work to be sure our heritage of freedom is remembered, lest we condemn our students, our children and grandchildren to having to relearn these lessons of history, as Santayana warned.

Texts of the poems are below the fold, though you may be much better off to use the links and see those sites, the Paul Revere House, and the Minuteman National Historical Park.

Read the rest of this entry »


“Is that a poem in your pocket?” she asked.

April 13, 2011

Not only is April National Poetry Month, but April 14th is National Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Poem in Your Pocket Day logo, 2011

National Poem in Your Pocket Day 2011 - click for details

The idea is simple: select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends.

Poems from pockets will be unfolded throughout the day with events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores. Create your own Poem In Your Pocket Day event using ideas below or let us know how your plans, projects, and suggestions for Poem In Your Pocket Day by emailing npm@poets.org.

Put Poems In Pockets

In this age of mechanical and digital reproduction, it’s easy to carry a poem, share a poem, or start your own PIYP day event. Here are some ideas of how you might get involved:

  • Start a “poems for pockets” give-a-way in your school or workplace
  • Urge local businesses to offer discounts for those carrying poems
  • Post pocket-sized verses in public places
  • Handwrite some lines on the back of your business cards
  • Start a street team to pass out poems in your community
  • Distribute bookmarks with your favorite immortal lines
  • Add a poem to your email footer
  • Post a poem on your blog or social networking page
  • Project a poem on a wall, inside or out
  • Text a poem to friends

Help us expand the list: send your ideas to npm@poets.org.

Poem In Your Pocket History

Poem In Your Pocket Day has been celebrated each April in New York City since 2004. Each year, city parks, bookstores, workplaces, and other venues burst with open readings of poems from pockets. Even the Mayor gets in on the festivities, reading a poem on the radio. For more information on New York City’s celebration, visit nyc.gov/poem.

Highlights from past Poem In Your Pocket Day events.

Poems have been stowed in pockets in a variety of ways, from the commonplace books of the Renaissance to the pocket-sized publications for Army soldiers in World War II. Have a story about the marriage of the poem and the pocket? Send them to npm@poets.org.

I just stumbled into National Poetry Month and National Poem in Your Pocket Day a few years ago, gearing up to use The Ride of Paul Revere on the anniversary of his famous ride.  How are you using poetry in your job?


Paul Revere’s Ride, read by Longfellow

April 19, 2010

Almost.

Least creepy of the animated YouTube versions I could find, and not a bad reading (though I wish some readers would pay more attention to the text and less attention to meter and rhyme).

What do you think?

So, early on the morning of April 19, Paul Revere finished his ride.  John Hancock and Samuel Adams had been alerted, and so had the Minutemen who had pledged and practiced to defend the arsenals laid in to defend colonists against British tyranny  . . .


%d bloggers like this: