Monday, April 4, 2011

Memorizing Poetry

Question: What is to be gained from memorizing short poems?

Answer/Quote: “I’d suggest trying it out…by yourself. Pick two or three short poems that you like for starters…William Carlos Williams’ ‘This Is Just to Say’ or James Wrights ‘Milkweed,’ or Mary Oliver’s ‘In Blackwater Woods.’ Or something rhymed and older like Leigh Hunt’s ‘Jenny Kissed Me.’ Or even something as long as ‘Paul revere’s Ride.’ It will give you some other sense of time to carry around in your days. It may open up a bit of space for wandering and wonder. It may link you to your children in ways you wouldn’t have guessed. It may make a strand across time.”  P. 29.

Comment: If not short poems, how about starting out with stanzas from your favorite poems? The author’s point is that we will establish a relationship with the poems that otherwise is not possible. I have never thought of the value of memorizing poetry that way. It’s worth trying. RayS.

Title: “Carrying Poetry Around: An Essay in Praise of Memorization.” Terry Hermsen. Council Chronicle. The National Council of Teachers of English (March 2011), 28-29.

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