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Links With Your Coffee - Monday


  • Essay - The Case for Memorizing Poetry -

    Does anyone here have a body of poetry or other literature memorized, if so tell us about it?

    A few years ago, I started learning poetry by heart on a daily basis. I’ve now memorized about a hundred poems, some of them quite long — more than 2,000 lines in all, not including limericks and Bob Dylan lyrics. I recite them to myself while jogging along the Hudson River, quite loudly if no other joggers are within earshot. I do the same, but more quietly, while walking around Manhattan on errands — just another guy on an invisible cellphone.

  • The Satirical Political Report - An Offbeat Look at the Hot-Button Issues of the Day » Cheney Charges Obama Had Meeting About WMD in Prague

  • Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted): Human Eyes Speak Volumes to Birds


    Those of you who go birding will know what I am talking about when I say that birds are so capable of reading human body language that they know when we are looking at them, which frequently causes them to hide from our gaze. However, this capacity has never before been scientifically studied in birds, until now, that is.

  • A Tour of the George W. Bush Presidential Library by Paul Ford - The Morning News
    Now that you’ve signed your loyalty oath, let’s get started! Welcome to the George W. Bush Presidential Library’s Automatic Self-Guided Audio Tour. Please note you cannot pause during the tour, turn down the volume, or ask any questions.

  • Dispatches from the Culture Wars: Joe the Plumber Admits His Ignorance

  • Two Dozen More Bodies Found In Lake Wobegon | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
    LAKE WOBEGON, MN—Though local residents insist it has been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, MN, their hometown out on the edge of the prairie, state police officials descended on the small community Tuesday when another 24 corpses surfaced along its placid waterfront.

  • Shouts & Murmurs: Mi Chiamo Stan: Humor: The New Yorker
    He was a hardworking farm boy. She was an Italian supermodel. He knew he would have just one chance to impress her.

  • Moyers Journal: Maddoff Was A Piker -- America's Big Banks Are a Far Larger Fraudulent Ponzi Scheme | Corporate Accountability and WorkPlace | AlterNet
    One of America's top bank fraud experts explains the financial industry's "liar's loans" and wholesale greed that got us in this mess.

    Bill Moyers: For months now, revelations of the wholesale greed and blatant transgressions of Wall Street have reminded us that "The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One." In fact, the man you're about to meet wrote a book with just that title. It was based upon his experience as a tough regulator during one of the darkest chapters in our financial history: the savings and loan scandal in the late 1980s.

    Bill Black was in New York for a conference at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice where scholars and journalists gathered to ask the question, "How do they get away with it?" Well, no one has asked that question more often than Bill Black. The former Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention now teaches Economics and Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. During the savings and loan crisis, it was Black who accused then-house speaker Jim Wright and five US Senators, including John Glenn and John McCain, of doing favors for the S&L's in exchange for contributions and other perks. The senators got off with a slap on the wrist, but so enraged was one of those bankers, Charles Keating -- after whom the senate's so-called "Keating Five" were named -- he sent a memo that read, in part, "get Black -- kill him dead." Metaphorically, of course. Of course. Now Black is focused on an even greater scandal, and he spares no one -- not even the President he worked hard to elect, Barack Obama. But his main targets are the Wall Street barons, heirs of an earlier generation whose scandalous rip-offs of wealth back in the 1930s earned them comparison to Al Capone and the mob, and the nickname "banksters." Bill Black, welcome to the Journal.



Hell yeah, Norm: I've memorized a number of Shakespearian monologues; lots of stuff from opera and modern songs; and a fair bit of my own poetry. When I was younger I could recite all of Tennyson's Locksley Hall and Eliot's Prufrock from memory. There's no mental effort or superior memory about it (believe me, my intellectual capacity is at or below average) -- you simply have to read aloud. I heard Robert Bly (a terrific American poet) make this recommendation years ago, though he was talking about feeling the poem and connecting bodily to its meaning. That's all true, but it also helps memorization.

And last week, on 4/1, I was recalling the first verse of The Waste Land, wondering how many pundits would be headlining pieces on the economy with "April is the cruellest month". It appears I was the only one.

Hey, I'm impressed even if you're only average. I don't believe it of course. I'm considering purchasing ESSENTIAL PLEASURES: A New Anthology of Poems to Read Aloud and determining if old farts can memorize stuff.

I did this a few years ago for a few months but didn't keep up with it; I'd mainly memorize while on the train to work and then recite to myself while jogging.

Brian, I memorized Prufrock as well! I also had Hamlet's soliloquy down, as well as Yeat's 'Second Coming' and (of all things) Frank O'Hara's 'To the Harbormaster'. I think I'll pick up the habit again.

I'm like you, Sarah - didn't keep it up. That's funny - I did Prufrock, too - maybe got halfway through - incredible rhythm and power but the only I can completely remember anymore is short - e.e. cummings "Jimmie's Got a Goil"

FWIW, Norm, my favorite poetry collection is Poet's Choice, Poems for Everyday Life selected by Robert Hass. It's from his poetry project when he was Poet Laureate. Pinsky's is more famous and I like that too (and I like How to Read a Poem by Hirsch, too) but I found so many poems I loved in Hass's, so many lines and thoughts that stop you because you can't believe how great they are...But, poetry is definitely subjective so....

BTW - I was talking about Pinsky's poetry project - America's Favorite Poems - not the Essentials one. I don't know it...

Yes, I'm a poetry nerd. Here's a short list of some of the poems that I've memorized.

*Ode on a Grecian Urn - John Keats.

*Canterbury Tales Prologue - Geoffrey Chaucer

*Exit, Pursued by a Bear - Ogden Nash

*Song of Perfect Propriety - Dorothy Parker

*Kubla Khan - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I also enjoy memorizing portions of some silly little poems such as the following:

by Julia Carney

Little drops of water

little grains of sand

Make the mighty ocean

and the pleasant land

So the little minutes

humble though they be

Make the mighty ages of eternity

Oh, and another favorite: What if a day by Thomas Campion.

I could get way too carried away with this thread. I better put on the brakes!

Okay, one more poem although I don't have it fully memorized anymore. Anyway, that link about the birdies reminded me of it. It's a poem by Ogden Nash. Sorry, I'm too lazy to force the line change.


Bird watchers top my honors list. I aimed to be one, but I missed. Since I'm both myopic and astigmatic, My aim turned out to be erratic, And I, bespectacled and binocular, Exposed myself to comment jocular. We don't need too much birdlore, do we, To tell a flamingo from a towhee; Yet I cannot, and never will, Unless the silly birds stand still. And there's no enlightenment in a tour Of ornithological literature. Is yon strange creature a common chickadee, Or a migrant alouette from Picardy? You can rush to consult your Nature guide And inspect the gallery inside, But a bird in the open never looks Like its picture in the birdie books- Or if it once did, it has changed its plumage, And plunges you back into ignorant gloomage. That is why I sit here growing old by inches, Watching a clock instead of finches, But I sometimes visualize in my gin The Audubon that I audubin.

I'm pleasantly surprised. What an erudite crowd of poetry lovers we have here. JoAnn, get carried away if you like, and thats for the poem. I remember reading it years ago, but don't recall the details. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Starting my senior year of high school, I memorized 2-3 new poems a year. I love being able to recite them to myself whenever I need a lift.

I've memorized over 20 now, and I've been oddly selective-I only have WB Yeats and ee cummings in my head, the rest I leave in books.

Does Big Lebowski count as poetry?

Most certainly :)


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