It’s time for a declaration.
Whereas the workplace is not considered
conducive to poetry and its practice,
And whereas the workplace manifests poetry
in all of its aspects, forms, organizations,
hierarchies, and activities,
And whereas the people who work in the workplace,
the people who make the workplace what it is,
have poetry spoken and unspoken within them,
And whereas poetry often articulates
our deepest desires, including the work
we are called to do,
And whereas work speaks to an intrinsic part
of our very selves and souls, an intrinsic part
which is often best articulated in poetry,
Therefore, be it declared that this day,
the fourteenth of January 2014,
and every second Tuesday of January
hereafter be known as Poetry at Work Day,
and be recognized and celebrated,
And be it further declared that Poetry at Work Day
is not confined to one nation, one region, or
one hemisphere but instead is recognized
in all places where work is created
and accomplished by workplace poets.
I wrote the book Poetry at Work because I unexpectedly discovered that the workplace, and the work that happens there, is shot through with poetry.
This didn’t happen early in my career; in fact, it was some three to four years ago, during a particularly bad point in my work. I was sitting in one of those regular weekly meetings, hearing many of the same things you hear repeatedly at regular weekly meetings, and trying not to yawn my boredom. And suddenly I heard poetry like one hears an unexpected but welcome, and familiar, piece of music.
After the meeting, my head almost exploding with what I had heard, I walked back to my office. I looked at the pictures on my walls and realized that each contained a poem about work. My office itself contained a poem about work. The PowerPoint presentation on my computer screen contained a poem about work.
From there, it was a short leap to realize the inherent poetic nature of work and everything connected to it. I had read several books about how poetry might apply and be useful for the workplace, and I had read various poems about work, but never had I read anything that described the poetry naturally contained within work. And this is all work, no matter where it happens—a cubicle, a delivery truck, a police car, a hospital, a department store, a home, a daycare center, an airplane, a military base, a legislature, a school. Even in a regular weekly meeting.
You can find everything you need to know about Poetry at Work Day right here at Tweetspeak Poetry. That includes resource table ideas, a survival kit, printable posters and computer wallpapers (I have a poster on the wall of my office), and even a Poetry at Work Day infographic. (And, of course, there’s the new book, Poetry at Work.)
I encourage you to find the poetry in the work you do, and in the places where you do work. And what makes it an easy task is the fact that the poetry is already there.
If you find that poem or poems, I have an offer for you. Post your poem here in the comments, (or post the link to your poem here) by Friday, January 17, and you may win a free copy of Poetry at Work.
I’m giving away five copies—I’ll select the poems from five poets who submit here. And the winners can receive their book in print form, Kindle form, or Nook form. Next Tuesday, we’ll feature the five poems here at Tweetspeak Poetry.
Find the poetry in your work. Celebrate it. It will open up all kinds of new understandings, and perhaps even new opportunities.
Bonus: A little poetic inspiration for Poetry at Work Day, from Robin-Williams-goes-Apple:
We’d love to make your work week every week, with thoughtful, beautiful, and fun poetry resources. Subscribe to our free weekly poetry newsletter today? Get the latest posts, prompts, and featured items. Don’t miss a thing.
- Poets and Poems: Daniel Leach and “Places the Soul Goes” - January 18, 2022
- Tuesday, Jan. 11: It’s Poetry at Work Day 2022! - January 11, 2022
- The Enduring Appeal of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” - January 4, 2022