Your Serendipity @ Thursday Thoughts

07 Feb

7:24 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Crazy Love by Paul Simon

Hello, everybody! Looks like Spring is coming to Atlanta. My eyes have started the pollen itch. Whatever the weather, I have for your delectation a few fun places to visit.

1] Let’s start with an essay from the New Yorker, ‘Why We Should Memorize‘, by Bruce Leithauser. This is not particularly long and should resonate with just about everyone. Do you remember the first poem you had to memorise? Do you remember how you felt when you had to recite it? How about the sense of having the poem become an integral part of your being?

I was in a choral choir in elementary school, so my first poems were at least spoken in the comfortable surroundings of other children. We won a competition with Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘From a Railway Carriage‘ which I still read as I learned to recite it. [As I trawled through the list of Stevenson’s poems — he wrote over 200! — for the poem, hoping the title would proclaim itself, I came across this title : ‘You Looked So Tempting in the Pew‘. Tell me you can resist checking that out. Remember that he wrote in the late 1800s.

My first solo poem, was ‘The Prologue’ to Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’… in Middle English. I can still recite the opening few lines.

Leithauser’s thesis is: The best argument for verse memorization may be that it provides us with knowledge of a qualitatively and physiologically different variety: you take the poem inside you, into your brain chemistry if not your blood, and you know it at a deeper, bodily level than if you simply read it off a screen.

Read the article. Memorise a poem.

2] How about the February Newsletter from the Origami Poems Project. When you arrive, glance at the right and scroll down a little. Kim Baker gives us a short piece on places to start when looking for publishing possibilities. I’ve used CRWROPPS for years, and have suggested it here a couple of times. If you want to try it, I suggest a dedicated email account. Read the rest of the newsletter. While it is Rhode Island-centric (as it should be!), the newsletter also serves as a reminder that OPP is a place we can submit.

3] I know many of you enjoy TEDTalks. I found the first set of talks they published on The Creative Process. Some of you may have come across the Collins and the Gilbert — they have each done more than one, so check —  but probably not Abigail Washburn’s What Do China and the Banjo Have in Common?

Enough? Okay. Three sounds a goodly number. Enjoy these and I shall see you tomorrow for the prompts roundup; next Tuesday to tryout a prompt to do with a sense of the land; and next Thursday for whatever comes along. 

Happy writing, everyone.



Posted by on 07/02/2013 in poetry, writing


Tags: , , , ,

5 responses to “Your Serendipity @ Thursday Thoughts

  1. vivinfrance

    07/02/2013 at 12:07 pm

    My brain won’t take them in these days, and I used to have reams of poetry by heart. The only one I can remember with complete certainty is ” a Piper in the Street Today” which, as you say, is part of my being. Jock as Burns in his veins and can quote many Burns poems in full. Ah well, I think I must be getting old quicker than he is!

    • margo roby

      07/02/2013 at 12:26 pm

      No, no, ViV — your brain is just fuller!

  2. Yousei Hime

    07/02/2013 at 12:41 pm

    “If” by Rudyard Kipling, the same Prologue as you (Wan that Aprile), Keat’s “Give me women, wine and snuff” and “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow” from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. And yes, I still have scraps of them somewhere in that brain closet.

    • margo roby

      07/02/2013 at 12:54 pm

      Yes, yes! ‘the shoure’s sote’! I love recalling lines from here and there.

  3. Misky

    08/02/2013 at 5:48 am

    I remember having to memorise hymns in Latin – didn’t know what the heck I was singing, and oft was the time that I faked it, just moving my lips about like a cow chewing cud. I can’t recall memorising poems in school though…although I’ve read “Green Ham and Eggs” so many times to Emma that I’ve nearly memorised it! 😀


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