Memorizing poems has never been one of my strengths. I hold those who can and do memorize in high esteem. Like memorizing my piano pieces, committing a poem to memory just does not come easy to me. Like wishing I could draw or paint exactly what my mind envisions, I cling to the hope that I can memorize a poem or a piano solo. Mary Ann Hoberman's latest book extends my hope.
Entitled Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by Heart, it a perfect collection of poems just right for cherishing in one's memory. Her introduction would make a great lesson in itself, especially thre reasons why it is important to memorize a poem.
When you memorize a poem, it is almost as if you have entered the poet's mind.
As you say the poem over and over, you begin to understand why the poet
chose one word and not another. You notice how certain sounds repeat
themselves and knit the lines together. It's a little like figuring out a puzzle,
and, like a good puzzle, it's fun!
I'm working on Karla Kuskin's There is a tree for my first successful memorization.