Friday, March 11, 2011

Memorizing Poetry

I've been getting back into memorizing poetry after earlier bouts, and the linked article is a nice encouragement, plus reading Moonwalking with Einstein. I have some chunks of poetry and verse that I carry around in my head from earlier forays into this area. I think more and more it is valuable, as an older form of reading such as the lectio divina, we "chew" and contemplate the words, something that you have to do in the process of memorizing.

I also like this article because I howled in protest at the demand that we memorize the funeral oration in Julius Caesar for 10th grade English class. One classmate (who will remain unnamed, but I've kept in touch with her over the years) positively reveled in the assignment. I think I resisted because I thought it too much work. Well, another folly of my youth!

So far:
1. The opening stanza of Eliot's Four Quartets ("Time present and time past. . ..")
2. The closing stanza ("We shall not cease from exploration . . . and the fire and the rose are one")
3. Prospero's speech in the Tempest (Be cheerful sir, . . . and our little life is rounded with a sleep")
4. Macbeth's speech (already had this one)("Out, out, brief candle. . . ")

In tap: George Herbert, Gerald Manley Hopkins, more Shakespeare (of course)(some Henry V portions I know pretty well), and John Donne (the love poems, although I'll never match the voice that Richard Burton gives them).

Suggestions?