A dozen local businesses and non-profits will be handing out free poems to customers and clients on National Poem in Your Pocket Day, Thursday, April 25, according to The Writing Studio, a women’s collective, that is organizing the event.

Local coffee shops (Embers & Forge, Brew Ha Ha, Tipsy Bean), the Erie Public Library, some local businesses and non-profits (Kraus Department Store, Pressed Bookstore, Emmaus Soup Kitchen, St. Benedict Child Development Center), St. Vincent Hospital and assisted living centers (St. Mary’s East, Brevillier Village, Springhill Senior Living) are all distributing poems throughout the day to patrons, residents and staff. Over the noon hour volunteers will hand out poems along State Street to passersby.

“Saint Vincent Hospital Volunteers and I are happy to celebrate National Poem in Your Pocket Day,” says Jodi Andres, Director, Volunteer Resources. “Poems are carriers of messages to and from the heart and mind. Poetry opens the window of our soul to beauty, healing, truth, a sense of self and human connection.”

Poems distributed during the day are taken from books published by the Academy of American Poets and volunteers roll each poem into a scroll. Unfurl the scroll and you’ll find a short poem by a well-known literary figure, such as Langston Hughes, e.e. cummings, Mary Oliver, Gwendolyn Brooks, or Emily Dickinson. Or you might discover a poem by a new contemporary writer.

“Celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day is a great way for the Erie County Library to spread the word (literally!) to our patrons about the power of poetry! We have always enjoyed being a site to hand out poems. You never know whose life could be changed through this simple act," says past participant Marcy Hall, Library Assistant.

Poem in Your Pocket Day began in New York City in 2002, and in 2008 the Academy of American Poets took it nationwide by making it a major event during National Poetry Month in April. “This is the fourth year Erie is participating and we are pleased that more businesses and organizations want to share poems,” said Sister Mary Lou Kownacki, coordinator of The Writing Studio.

The Writing Studio, a collective of women writers and literary advocates, is located at The Studio at St. Mary’s A Space to Create, 310 E. 10th Street. The studio sponsors writing workshops, author readings, book discussion, literary art projects, literary activities for women in transition, and initiatives to celebrate National Poetry Month. Learn more at