Last year when we launched the first Poetry at Work Day, Huffington Post noted that the event had “yet to really catch on nationwide.” Of course, by nature of the Tweetspeak team and community being scattered across the country—and across the globe—we knew better. And tweets last year from around the U.S. and Europe confirmed what we knew: poetry at work touched something in workers everywhere.
There are those who will say that every day is a day for poetry at work, and we agree. But Poetry at Work Day, now celebrated every year on the second Tuesday in January, sets aside a single day to bring that poetry to light. A day to notice the poetry that is present in our workspaces, our meetings, and even, if you believe Glynn Young, the poetry in our PowerPoint presentations.
Yesterday, we saw that happen on a worldwide scale. Poetry organizations like the Scottish Poetry Library tweeted lines throughout the day. News correspondents at CBS and ABC affiliates wrote poems to each other. Dental offices issued poetic calls to dental hygiene. Libraries tweeted poems and recommended collections. Staff meetings were opened with poems. Colleagues wished one another a happy Poetry at Work Day. And a little boy wrote haiku, and enjoyed it. And as for whether it’s really taken off nationwide? I suppose that depends on whether or not the Scottish Parliament counts.
— Scottish Parliament (@ScotParl) January 14, 2014
Enjoy ten of our favorite Tweets from Poetry at Work Day, in no particular order:
1. The day’s news in rhyming couplets Our day started with this exchange with Leyla Gulen of ABC7 in San Francisco. She seemed unconvinced that the news could be delivered in rhyming couplets, so @tspoetry tossed out a couple based on a story at competitor CNN to get things rolling. (Click through for the full conversation with other ABC7 colleagues.)
2. Making plans with a poem (or a poet)
On Poetry at Work Day, and the days leading up to it, we asked all kinds of folks how they would celebrate. Some, like Hindol Sengupta of Fortune, planned to read a poem. We’re not sure if Mr. Sengupta drew a crowd.
Matthew Kassel of the New York Observer had plans with Issa (throwing back to Take Your Poet to Work Day). We never did hear details of those plans, but we are still ready to listen if Issa has something to report.
3. Poetry on the agenda Poetry was read during meetings in some workplaces.
And in others, it showed up subversively on the white board.
A poetry reading to teach fire safety. Why not?
Some imposed poetry on the work to be done.
While others found it, quite literally, in the work at hand.
4. Sometimes poetry in the workplace can be seen and not heard
5. Write if you find work, my dad always said
We saw some wonderful Twitter poems written about work or the workplace:
— The Well-Versed Mom (@WellVersedMom) January 14, 2014
6. Off to a great start The crew at CBS New York wrote a poem for a colleague (click through to see the whole effort) CBS:
Some gave it the old college try:
And Zack and Jim from KCEN TV got stumped. (Click through for the video)
Some guys couldn’t get a break.
7. Poems for everyone! Folks at work were sharing poems left and right all day long. A few we caught and enjoyed:
8. For the indecisive Some people just couldn’t decide whether to celebrate Poetry at Work Day or Dress Up Your Pet Day. They went for broke, and celebrated both. (Click through for the complete poem.)
9. No more rhyming now, I mean it! Brian Blackmore and Virgin Trains in England had a delightful exchange in rhyme on the day’s commute. (Click through for the full rhyming conversation.)
10. And then there were those who couldn’t wait until work was done
Poetry at work day…hey we’re at work 😉 when’s poetry at the pub day?!? — AbbotCookPub (@AbbotCookPub) January 14, 2014
(Because who doesn’t want chocolate after work?)
And we have one bonus tweet, a sonnet for those of us who pack our stuff in the Bankers Box
The Shaker Library, one of many libraries to get in on the activities, made our day with this tweet yesterday morning:
— Shaker Library (@ShakerLibrary) January 15, 2014
As you know, at Tweetspeak “We take seriously our whimsy. We live in our laughter.” One of the things that drives everything we do is our mission to help people Learn • Play • Grow. Yesterday, we watched people on Twitter and Facebook play with poetry. We saw serious whimsy. We saw laughter. We saw delight. And much of it was happening while people were at work. Contributing writer Laura Boggess left a comment on our Poetry at Work Post yesterday that brought it all together:
I read aloud a poem at work today! And all day long when I passed my colleagues in the corridors they said, “Happy Poetry at Work Day!” Next year? We might have choreography. Thanks for the inspiration, Glynn. Inpatient healthcare is a tough place to ask folks to slow down and listen, but today, I saw a few good reasons to keep asking.
Tomorrow, take poetry back to work with you. And take seriously your whimsy.
Poetry at Work, by Glynn Young, foreword by Scott Edward Anderson
“This book is elemental.”