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?