I like to purchase at least one book when I travel. I came across Poem in Your Pocket (2009, edited by Elaine Bleakney, published by Abrams Image: New York) while I was in Asheville, North Carolina. Poem in Your Pocket caught my attention because the format allows for each page to be torn out of the book and stuffed in a pocket or in a purse or in backpack or in, well, anything. Two hundred poems are ready for carrying and reading. This little handy book has several sections, and the titles sound like poems themselves: “Love and Rockets,” “Dwellings,” “Eating and Drinking, Friends and Ghosts,” “Myself I Speak and Spell,” “Sonic Youth, City My City,” and “Spring and After.”
I particularly like the poems “The Old Man on the Motorcycle” that declares the feeling of freedom as one man goes down backroads reliving his youth, and “Grown-up” that laments all the work it took to get to the stage in life where one feels the need to go to bed early. Alas, I believe my age is speaking. However, there are poems for every age, every emotion, and every seeker.
“The Hungarian Pastry Shop and Café” reminds me of working on my dissertation, and it reminds me of all the coffee shops many souls flock to for refreshment and words. The description is so wonderful, I can see all the folks writing and creating; I can almost smell the sugar with a hint of coffee.
I could not bring myself to tear the poems out and stuff them in my pocket, my purse, or my backpack. Alas, again, I think it is my age. I am very happy just flipping through the book and picking out a poem to carry me through the day.
U. S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan, in her introductory comments, talks about the “murmured conversation between the poem and the reader.” Two hundred poems can lead to a lot of conversations either with oneself or with some other lucky soul.