spoken memory

June 18, 2015

Lynda Barry on memorizing poetry

You may be one of those people who has poetry “on draft” — someone who has memorized scores of poems and can pour them out with hardly a second thought. Or not. Perhaps you have memorize poems on your to-do list. If the latter, here’s some encouragement…

First, read The New Yorker article, “Why We Should Memorize,” By Brad Leithauser. Leithauser puts the traditional practice of memorizing poems into a more contemporary context.

Second, pay an online visit to Kim Rosen, who writes, speaks and teaches workshops on the value of poetry and memorizing.

Third — no, on second thought, first — watch the video “Lynda Barry! The View From Here: Emily Dickinson, Poetry and Survival.” The always irreverant Lynda Barry is probably more familiar as a cartoonist, but the video, made by The Poetry Foundation and Poetry Magazine, offers the artist’s take on the importance of poetry as well as her somewhat unconventional approach to memorizing it.

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