Memorizing Poetry

by Matthew Koslowski on November 25, 2009
in Essays

In This Essay

Complete Poems of John Keats
Paradise Lost by John Milton
Speaking of Faith: Learning, Doing, Being: A New Science of Education
 

In college I resolved to memorize Paradise Lost.

Not just “The Invocation to the Muse,” the first twenty-six lines. The entire work. All twelve books.

My inspiration came in part from watching The Crow. One of the villains, T-Bird, picks up a book and reads, “Abashed the Devil stood and felt how awful goodness is, and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely…” Wondering if he were reading from a real book, I searched Google and found that quote comes from Book IV of Paradise Lost.

I developed a plan, in fact, to memorize the poem. After letting this grandiose idea overtake me, I sat down with a copy of the poem and determined how many lines were in each book. Then adding them up, I figured how long it would commit to memory if I memorized a fixed number — I believe it was ten lines — per day. It was a project that was going to take years of dedicated work.

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Weekly Review: November 6th to November 12th

I have implemented the first stage of my strategy, using a feed reader to manage my feeds. Consolidating all of the different streams of information down so that I just have to deal with the one website each day has been a blessing. I am still tinkering with this aspect of the strategy: I am thinking of moving to an offline feed reader because I’m not sure how long Reader saves all the posts I highlight with a star.

I failed this week to implement the second stage of my strategy, writing a little bit of the Weekly Review each day instead of all at once. There is always tomorrow to begin the Weekly Review: November 13th to November 19th!

Want to Learn Poetry from Matthew Koslowski?

I am developing a one session course to introduce adults to reading poetry for pleasure. The tentative title is, “Bawdy&Body: An Introduction to Poetry for Adults.” If you live in eastern Massachusetts, or around here, and would be interested in attending such a course, contact me.

These Things Caught My Eye

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Dwelling on and Dwelling in the Spirit of Play

by Matthew Koslowski on September 30, 2009
in Essays

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
– Aristotle

A few days ago, one of my friends set her Facebook status to, “But bear in mind that a person’s worth is measured by the worth of what he values.”

This simple act amused me. And moved me to think. I had had cause — not just cause but causes — to think about my values before she had put up that status. I realized that my life has been out of alignment. Specifically, I have not been giving enough attention to one trait I deeply value: playfulness.

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