Inspired by one of the students in my workshop last week who made himself write a poem without ever writing any of it down (the assignment was to create some difficulty for ourselves in writing the poem, some constraint -- suggestions included writing one word on each page, writing blindfolded, or writing with the non-dominant hand -- I made myself physically move to a new location to draft each line, which was vaguely interesting) and by a certain inebriated recitation-fest in the Stanley Kunitz Common Room in the wee hours of the morning, I have decided that I need to memorize some damn poems. I've got lines, stanzas even, in my head -- and about 2/3 of a few Shakespeare soliloquies -- but no whole poems that I can dredge up, inebriated or no.
To that end, my goal is to memorize one poem a month for the next year. I'll write them down in a notebook at the beginning of the month, carry them around with me all month, and hopefully have them by heart before month's end. I know a month is a long time, and maybe this doesn't sound all that ambitious, but it feels like a challenge to me -- I've never been good at memorization (which is the only reason I'm not a world-famous actress, right?).
First up (for July, since June is almost gone) will be Plath's "Ariel" because I already have bits of it and because I just love how her language feels in my mouth. "Stasis in darkness. / Then the substanceless blue / Pour of tor and distances..."
If any of y'all have suggestions for others I should consider memorizing, I'm all ears!