Poetry Memorization Challenge for National Poetry Month 2019

poems
(Josh Cohen) #1

April is National Poetry Month in the US and Canada, (and possibly elsewhere?). To celebrate, let’s memorize some poetry every day for the month of April! :slight_smile:

Goal

Spend at least 15 minutes of your day, every day in April, memorizing some poetry. You can memorize any poems you want. (See below for a starting point.)

Everyone who participates will get an extra forum badge at the end of the month!

Sign Up

To sign up, check the box below and leave a comment with a note about your memorization goals for the month. You can choose one or both options.

  • I will memorize poetry every day in April
  • I will memorize at least 5 poems in April

0 voters

Updates

You can post updates and tips in the Memory Training Journals section of the forum and let us know what techniques you’re trying and which poems you’re memorizing.

Poetry Memorization Tips

See some tips in the post here:

Ideas for Poems to Memorize

If you aren’t sure where to start, there are ideas in this list of poems to memorize. You can also find free or inexpensive collections at a library or used book store. Gutenberg also has a lot of poetry content.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. :slight_smile:

4 Likes

Memorize "On Shakespeare" by John Milton
#2

For member who want to try this memory challenge in french, or french member (like me), here is a good site for free ebooks
https://www.ebooksgratuits.com

2 Likes

(Francis Blondin) #4

I’ll learn the lyrics of 5 songs that I consider to be similar to poems. I’ll use just one keyword every 1 to 12 lines (most often either 2 or 4 lines) of text and memorize those keywords just like I would memorize a list of random words.

3 Likes

(Josh Cohen) #5

For anyone who isn’t sure where to start, here are a few ideas that you could choose from.

The Eagle by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Here’s a short one that won’t take long:

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure world, he stands. 

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls, 
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

Stopping by the Woods One Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

To Autumn by John Keats

Ozymandias by Percy Shelly

More Poems

There are many other ideas in the links below:

2 Likes

#8

I’m definitely starting with that one! (Thank you, Josh.) Also some Longfellow and Philip Larkin. After that, I’m not sure. I have several books of poetry but have never tried to memorise much before. It will be a challenge - but a fun one, I’m sure. (I live in the UK, where we only have a National Poetry Day! This year - 3 October.) :slight_smile:

2 Likes

#9

I decided to try to memorise 5 poems this month and see where that takes me. From the recommendation, today I memorised The Eagle and will have to look through the list of poems to find some others to memorise. 4 more to go!

Edit 1: A Dream Within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe was the next one I decided to learn. Bit longer but fun to memorise. It actually took me a few days to decide which poem to learn then a few to get around to learning it. But I’m still on schedule to learning 5 this month!

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#10

So far, I’ve managed ‘The Eagle’ (above), ‘The Arrow and the Song’ (Longfellow) and ‘Opportunity’ (Walter Malone) - with each poem longer than the one before. I’m now starting work on ‘Desiderata’ by Max Ehrmann (‘Go placidly amid the noise and haste’).

I go for a long walk each morning and recite the poems to myself several times to make sure I really do know them. So far so good - though I think ‘Desiderata’ will take me a few days to memorise! :slight_smile:

2 Likes

#11

In case anyone is struggling with lengthy poems and/or wants something frivolous to break things up, I’ve just come across the following, posted by Neil Kutzen on another thread back on 18 Feb 2017 (‘How to memorize poetry?’).

Easy to learn - and fun, too!

Snowball by Shel Silverstein
I made myself a snowball
As perfect as could be
I thought I’d keep it as a pet
And let it sleep with me
I made it some pajamas
And a pillow for its head
Then last night it ran away
But first it wet the bed.

1 Like

#12

So far I’ve learned the following seven poems (so have managed to reach, and pass, the hoped-for five mark):

The Eagle (Alfred Lord Tennyson)

The Arrow and the Song (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Opportunity (Walter Malone)

Desiderata (Max Ehrmann)

Daffodils (William Wordsworth)

The Snowball (Shel Silverstein)

Sonnet (1) (William Shakespeare)

I like poems that I could imagine being able to recite to someone – so they tend to be either short (The Eagle), funny/thoughtful (The Snowball/Opportunity/Arrow and the Song) or vaguely familiar/recognisable (Daffodils, Desiderata and the Shakespeare Sonnet).

I’m sure many of you will have gone for lengthier/more complex pieces – and good luck to you! :slight_smile:

I’m now about to start work on John Betjeman’s ‘A Subaltern’s love-song’, which famously begins, ‘Miss J Hunter Dunn, Miss J Hunter Dunn/Furnish’d and burnish’d by Aldershot sun’. Eleven four-line verses – and all rather jolly!

1 Like

(Josh Cohen) #14

Nice list. :slight_smile:

I didn’t manage to memorize poetry every day (dealing with some health problems), but I’ve memorized five poems so far and will finish a sixth this week.

  • On Shakespeare by John Milton
  • Fireflies in the Garden by Robert Frost
  • “All the world’s a stage” speech by Shakespeare
  • A Dream Within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe (mentioned above)
  • To Helen by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (in progress)

This video below about Kubla Khan is interesting. Xanadu was the word Xandu (Shangdu) with an extra syllable added by Colridge for the meter. And there’s an entire Wikipedia page about the Person from Porlock who interrupted him while he was writing down the poem. The Person from Porlock later appears in a Sherlock Holmes story and Douglas Adams novel. Wikipedia also has interesting links to occurrences of Xanadu in popular culture.

1 Like

#15

Your list is certainly weightier than mine, Josh. (I’ve largely steered way from more archaic language, but you’ve clearly embraced the challenge of the more difficult poem!)

Hope your health issues are improving and that you manage to complete ‘Kubla Khan’. I’ve had a read-through of the poem itself (and watched the link, too - for which, thank you). It certainly looks like another decent challenge.

Good luck!

1 Like