I can tell you exactly where I was when I first heard poetry at work.
I was in a meeting, sharing a conference room table with seven other people. The meeting was a recurring one – every Wednesday at 9 a.m. The discussion was generally recurring, too; there is indeed nothing new under the sun.
I was restless; I get restless at meetings that ostensibly are about coordination and team buy-in but are really about avoiding blame by distributing responsibility. This particular meeting was a best practice in that regard.
As I listened, I began taking notes, notes in the form of a poem. I didn’t realize what I was doing until I was halfway down the page. It’s not an understatement to say I was surprised; stunned, in fact. I began listening in earnest, not to what was being said but how it was being said.
I had discovered poetry at work. More precisely, I had discovered poetry in work – the poetry that is always there, that had always been there. Like work itself, the poetry of work can rhyme, confuse, be blatantly obvious or maddeningly obscure. It can be as short as a haiku or as long as a Homeric epic. Poetry is in work because it is human and because work is a human activity. We all work – at home, in an office, behind a steering wheel, in front of a classroom, in a field of corn, wearing a badge, aiming a hose at a fire, making coffee, flipping burgers, nursing a sick child, using a keyboard, or a pen. Work is inherent to the human condition.
So is poetry.
We’re celebrating it here at Tweetspeak Poetry, and we’re welcoming you to the celebration. In fact, this is more than a welcome; this is an invitation to take it over and celebrate Poetry at Work Day wherever you are.
Joining us as sponsors this year are Slice Magazine, a Brooklyn-based magazine that publishes established and emerging authors, and Scratch Magazine, a digital magazine about the relationship of writing, money and life.
Here are some celebration resources:
Download the free ebook Celebrate Poetry at Work Day–filled with graphics, tips, ideas, articles and poems.
Through today at Noisetrade, you can download a free ebook copy of my book Poetry at Work (which covers just about every way you can find poetry at work–from meetings and PowerPoint presentations to job interviews, vision statements, organization charts and even retirement).
Download a free Poetry at Work Day 2015 poster and put it up wherever you work:
The first five people who take a photo of their displayed poster in the workplace will receive a free print copy of Poetry at Work. Just leave a link here in the comments–you can tweet the photo, post it on Facebook or Google+, post it on your blog or wherever streams of electronic atoms are congregating and communicating.
Your celebration can be as simple as taking your favorite poem to work and tacking it to your bulletin board, or reading a poem to friends at lunch. You can find plenty of other ideas by perusing this list of Tweetspeak Poetry articles.
If you celebrate on line, make sure to use the #poetryatworkday hashtag.
But whatever you do, join with us here. Share a poem in the comments. Tell us what you’re doing to celebrate the day. Poetry is meant to be shared; it is not a process to be kept in the closet.
So share with us this day, Jan. 13–Poetry at Work 2015.
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