We've been celebrating National Poetry Month in multiple ways in the library that I have chronicled. Through Book Spine Poetry, Blackout Poetry, and Poem-A-Day, we have celebrated all things poetry here! I wasn't quite sure though what to do for Poem in Your Pocket Day, which is today. I found a few ideas on Pinterest and toyed around with the ideas of them in my head. However, one of our English teachers took on Poem in Your Pocket Day and promoted it to the staff during our staff meeting last week, encouraging teachers, no matter what discipline they teach, to promote poetry on campus.
She followed up with an e-mail to the staff with all kind of ideas. She listed multiple ways, and at the very bottom, she suggested "Get a tattoo of a poem." Then she wrote, "Just kidding! Wanted to see who would read to the bottom of this very long e-mail!"
A few teachers joked with her back, including my library tech. We laughed about it later, but then I said, "I wonder if there's a way to do a temporary tattoo of a poem and freak her out!" Our IT guy, who has multiple tattoos, said, "Yeah, you can get a temporary tattoo before it becomes permanent to make sure you want it." And the idea began to take shape.
What if I found a way to create temporary tattoos for students on Poem in Your Pocket Day?!?! Off I went to research.
I immediately was drawn to Rupi Kaur's poetry. Her poems have nice simple graphics with them, and she has many short and powerful poems. I first uploaded her original poems and images into PicMonkey, deleted the original text, and inserted new text in a larger and similar font to the original. I felt as if the original images would not be readable. In the end, my design ended up being about 1.5" square. Take a look at all 6 poems I chose below.
The *only* thing I would change for last year would be to have a few more "upbeat" poems. Rupi Kaur's poems to tend to be a little more on the depressing side. I personally think they are powerful, but students wanted something a little more happy for a tattoo! The one with the sun was the first to go.
We set up a station near the front desk to apply the tattoos and put up a sign letting students know what was going on. At our little tattoo station, we set up a basket with the tattoos, some instructions for how to apply them, a bowl with some wet washcloths, and a water bottle. See image below I took WAY later in the day when they were almost gone!.
The process for students was simple. They just peeled off a plastic film on the front, placed it on their skin, covered it with a wet washcloth for 10 to 15 seconds, and peeled off the paper backing. Done!
I was SO impressed with how these tattoos looked once they were applied! I was afraid I was going to get a dud on the first try, but my first tattoo looked GREAT! I'm only upset I didn't order twice as much tattoo paper, something I will make sure to do for next year.
The only other thing I would change is to create some kind of hashtag for students taking a picture of the tattoo. I would also encourage the rest of the staff to use the hashtag as well so we can see what everyone is doing around campus! Students even asked what hashtag they should use as they took pictures of themselves!
Overall, what an awesome event! I've never had so many students say to me, "This is really cool!" so often about something I did in the library. They pleaded with me to do it again next year as well, so this is definitely one I will bring back again bigger and better next year!
Jennifer Zimny has been a teacher librarian at Ponderosa High School for the past three years and previous to that, she was the drama teacher for 9 years. She holds a BA in Theatre from CSUS, a teaching credential in English, and a teaching credential in Library Media Services from Azusa Pacific University
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