Tuesday, May 02, 2006

By Heart

Well, this challenge is very interesting. Not only the challenge, but the discussion that has ensued from it, which starts on page 2 of the thread.

The challenge is to:

go away and learn a short poem by heart, until it's near as dammit word perfect
---the poem MUST not be a poem you already know or half-know by heart
-- it has to be a new one
-- and not one written by you
---come back and post the poem (from memory, naturally) together with comments about how learning it by heart affected your understanding of or reaction to the poem.

I have begun learning a poem and will post something about it at the site either tomorrow or the next day (I started late due to being busy at work and with NaPoWriMo). I’m not sure I’ll be able to add much to what’s already been said, but I'll have a go.

*** I have now posted my poem with my reflections on the process.

3 comments:

apprentice said...

I'd go for a haiku as these days my memory is shot.

But the things we learned by rote as children really stuck,the 7 times table, Burns poetry, skipping rhymes etc, so maybe there's a lot to be said for the exercise.

BTW liked your homeless stats poem, I used to write the spin on the Scottish ones in a past life, it is all done by e-mail these days, apart from meetings with statisticians to discuss what to count.

Rob Mackenzie said...

Hi apprentice

I found the exercise very worthwhile, even though my memory is worse than it used to be.

I learned Roddy Lumsden's poem Still and posted some thoughts about it at the site I linked to. What has now made the process even more interesting is that Roddy Lumsden has unexpectedly come to the site and posted a few paragraphs on what his intentions were for the poem. So there's a good discussion going on down there.

The homeless stats poem came from my time in Italy. They like having meetings in Italy - lots of them with plenty of time for people to talk, even if they communicate by email as well.

Cheers.

apprentice said...

That is such a good thread, and how great to get feedback directly from the poet like that. I agree with you that a poem once let loose by the poet does comes to mean new things to the reader, and surely the ambiguity in a poem is there to provide scope for that.

I too thought the cheese had a deeper meaning, but as a photographer I can immediately see how he made the visual connection, the orange of both just zings, and surfing the fridge on a hot day you'd notice that even more.

I'm reading Louis MacNeice just now, a recent discovery for me mine, and I'm really enjoying his use of language.