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On carrying it around in your head

[Originally published at the now defunct group blog explananda.com]

Posted on May 12, 2009
Tags: poetry

Inspired by this piece in the NYT, a bit more than two weeks ago Yoon and I started memorizing a line of poetry a day. I set up an email alert in my calendar to remind me each morning to add a new line, which I do by typing out the entire poem so far plus the day’s line in an email to Yoon. We decided to start with Frost’s “Birches.”

It’s been a lot of fun so far. Although the poem has been familiar to me for years, Yoon’s never seen it, and has insisted on not reading ahead. So every day she gets one more line of it; she’s really enjoyed watching it unfurl a bit at a time, day after day.

The last time I memorized poetry I was twenty. I stuck Tennyson’s “Ulysses” in my head and then walked around all summer savouring it to myself while I was waiting for subways or walking down the street. It was wonderful, and I’m not sure why I fell out of the habit. Anyway, I’ve fallen back into it now, and highly recommend it.


Author: ben
Date: 2009-05-13

It’s so terrible that you forgot even the title of Tennyson’s “Ulysses”.

Author: Chris
Date: 2009-05-13

Ouch. Fixed.

Author: Kegri
Date: 2009-05-15

this reminds me of a great story called “talking him in” by dan yashinsky.

google books link:


(missing pages)

speaking of great stories, have you ever read “the pillowman”? pretty fantastic, though the canstage production i saw was a little disappointing.