Memorizing a poem gives you a completely new perspective on the piece. Two poets may read the same poem in entirely different ways. I’ve been increasingly impressed and inspired at open mics where poets stand up with just their words to share, no paper, no hidden mic in their ear, no teleprompter? (Damnit! Who put a question mark on the teleprompter?!)
Last night, myself, Pam Taylor and Dasan Ahuna were selected by Stephanie Levin to judge the district rounds of the national recitation competition known as Poetry Out Loud. Teenagers all around the country memorize and perform poems as they compete for tens of thousands of dollars in prizes and scholarships.
I was blown away by the high school students’ talent and how the room became standing room only. This photo does not adequately capture the size of the audience, it was about three times larger than this by the time things got started!
Pam herself is memorizing one new poem every month, which has inspired me to do the same! How do you feel about memorizing? Even if it’s a quote that you live by, lines in a film, a mantra that you reach for when you need it most–what is it about a piece that attracts you so much to it that being on paper just isn’t enough and you need to “inscribe it on yourself”?