Back when Poetry at Work Day was barely a giggle in our virtual water cooler’s eye, we had no idea how it would play out. Sure, we’d make infographics and posters and we’d give it really good tweet, but we didn’t know: would we be the only ones celebrating? Would we be able to keep up with other events that would fall on the same day, like Rubber Ducky Day and Dress Up Your Pet Day and, as though meaning to challenge us from the get-go, Skeptics Day?
But we forged ahead, believing that celebrating these public days around poetry (besides Poetry at Work Day, we also have serious fun with poets for Take Your Poet to Work Day and—hang on to your hats—we have a new public day we’ll be announcing soon) is a way we can take poetry to work, transport it, and paint it in the public square—all keys to the five vital approaches to Poetry for Life.
The first year, Huffington Post helped publicize the event by reprinting our infographic. Last year, we actively involved libraries across the U.S. by sending out 500 Poetry at Work Day posters. Virgin Trains in London and the Scottish Parliament helped us take the event global and we saw many small businesses finding ways to use poetry to connect with customers.
This year, we expanded the event with sponsorships by Scratch Magazine and Slice Magazine. We sent posters to libraries and individuals once again, and gave away over 500 digital copies and 100 print copies of Glynn Young’s groundbreaking Poetry at Work. (You can still get a healthy sample of the book for free.)
From Malaysia, Belgium, South Africa, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, England, Panama, Canada, India, and the U.S., we saw involvement on Facebook and Twitter between individuals and coworkers, the National Park Service, libraries (including the U.S. National Archives) and museums like the Whitney (don’t miss Mark the Mammoth’s warm and woolly poems, from a smaller museum in Elmira, NY), and unprecedented engagement from corporate entities like Microsoft, Kimberly Clark, Urban Outfitters, Haribo in Italy (maker of gummi bears), Marmite (all the way in South Africa), Subway, Cisco and Playstation. Ellen DeGeneres and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Elaine” from Seinfeld) even played their part.
While we surely saw our share of “Roses are red / violets are blue / I promise this poem / will hurt your head,” we saw a truly gratifying number of individuals and organizations participate more deeply in the day—with videos, graphics, activities and promotions that we hope will help people and workplaces begin to notice the way poetry is present in their work long past Poetry at Work Day.
Here are our Top Ten favorite things from this year’s celebration:
Some folks waxed poetic about breaks and lunches and long-awaited 5 o’clock:
— Frank & Folly (@frankandfolly) January 13, 2015
Many used the day to engage with customers, inviting them to tweet poems in exchange for discounts, giveaways, or just the chance to have your poem retweeted. Some of us really, really wanted the Pinocchio pencil sharpener but find ourselves unable to write poems under the pressure of all the Poetry at Work Day excitement, and so, are hoping that Santa Claus remembers this come next December.
It’s National Poetry at Work Day! Let’s celebrate: write us a haiku and we’ll RT our faves. — Urban Outfitters (@UrbanOutfitters) January 13, 2015
— Euroffice UK (@eurofficecouk) January 13, 2015
— Present Provider (@PresentProvider) January 13, 2015
— Dodge Foundation (@grdodge) January 12, 2015
Where are our #PSryhme artists today? Are they going to miss out on National Poetry at Work Day?
— PlayStation Jobs (@PlayStationJobs) January 13, 2015
— Monica Sharman (@monicasharman) January 13, 2015
Today is National Poetry at Work Day! Lots of words rhyme with BAM! Help Me Write A Poem. I’ll Start. “It was a very cold day at BAM!” — BAM! Holland (@BAM_Holland) January 13, 2015
We loved seeing the variety of graphics that many designed and shared in support of the day.
— iFactory (@iFactoryDigital) January 12, 2015
Technically, this Oreo Haiku was not posted for Poetry at Work Day, but was retweeted by ADG Creative. Despite our best efforts, Oreo was not forthcoming with another gem, but we appreciate the poetry they found another day.
Be sure to click through this one to see the graphic:
— Alternating Current (@altcurrent) January 13, 2015
— BrilliantSocialMedia (@brilliantsocial) January 14, 2015
And then, there were workplace activities that were a little more, shall we say, impromptu:
The international participation is especially delightful. Or, at least we hope it is. We didn’t hire a translator for these Poetry at Work Day poems.
— Haribo Italia (@HariboIT) January 13, 2015
— Alvaro de la Fuente (@CliniqueADF) January 14, 2015
If Ellen DeGeneres is your friend, and you happen to have a birthday on the same day as Poetry at Work Day, you might get a poem. And this exchange makes me want to see what words I can make rhyme with all my friends’ names.
Ron Swanson might not enjoy Poetry at Work Day very much. But listen. If Leslie Knope were a part of this thing… (Yes, if a mammoth can write poetry, then on Poetry at Work Day the senior editor can get away with an occasional pop culture reference.)
Happy National Poetry At Work Day!!! I love my coworkers!! #obscure #holidays #wisewords #swanson #office #iphone #iphotography #pixlrmatic #photography A photo posted by Joseph Williams (@jspwilliams) on
No Poetry at Work Day wrap-up would be complete without simply taking notice of the many poems shared throughout the day:
‘Poetry at Work Day’ today…. Its also sceptics day!!! There was a young man from Nantucket… Or so they said…. don’t believe them tho — Hider Foods (@HiderFoods) January 13, 2015
Today is ‘Poetry at Work Day’. Off to try a haiku in the loo. Or perhaps a triolet as I smell a violet. Epithalamion as I put my jammies on? — Allis Gordon (@AllisGordon) January 13, 2015
— Carol Varsalona (@cvarsalona) January 14, 2015
So, yesterday was poetry at work day. I wrote some. And I think we’re all glad it didn’t get shared here. — Todd Vriezelaar (@toddhv) January 14, 2015
Our partners, Slice Magazine, Library Hotel and Scratch Magazine got into the celebration:
We’re excited to introduce the newest member of the Library Hotel team, Matt! Stop by the Front Desk to say hi and also to grab your complimentary copy of Poetry at Work, courtesy of @tspoetry! We’ll be celebrating with them everyday until January 13th! #booklover #poetryatworkday #BookLHC
A photo posted by @libraryhotel on
And of course we were very happy to spot our 2015 Poetry at Work Day posters displayed here and there:
And when you inadvertently stumble on the title of our upcoming poetry collection from Dave Malone, you get your very own item in the wrap-up.
Photo by Steven Depolo. Creative Commons license via Flickr. Post by LW Lindquist.
Get a free sample of Poetry at Work by Glynn Young now on Noisetrade.