Memorized Poems

Peter Amidon writes:

In 2011, at the age of 62, I read an article in Newsweek that said that memorizing Shakespeare sonnets was good for an aging person’s memory. I started with the sonnet of my age: 62 “Sin of self love . . .”, and continued with Sonnet 59 (my wife Mary Alice’s age), Sonnet 27 (our son Stefan’s age) and Sonnet 30 (our son Sam’s age). What started as a whim became a kind of private passion, and I broadened from Shakespeare to include Robert Frost, Billy Collins, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Mary Oliver, George Bilgere – poets old and new. On my daily walks I alternate between memorizing poems and reviewing the poems I have memorized in order to keep them in my mental repertoire. I practice them silently in bed when going to sleep, when I wake up in the middle of the night, when I get bored at any kind of event; I practice them out loud while driving or while filling up the gas tank, and, of course, on my daily walks. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, I started archiving them on Youtube.  Here is a list of my memorized poems which have been Youtube archived to date. I am adding to this list weekly.

A Poetry Reading at West Point by William Matthews

A Word to Husbands   by Ogden Nash

After Applepicking by Robert Frost

American Sonnet For my Past and Future Assasin by Terrance Hayes

Dust of Snow by Robert Frost

Happiness in Cornwall by Raymond Carver

In Respect of Felines by T. S. Eliot

Litany by Billy Collins

Meeting at an Airport by Taha Muhammad Ali

Memorizing the Sun Rising by John Donne by Billy Collins

Poetry is Stupid  by Gregory Fraser

Remember by Christina Rossetti

Sonnet 29 by William Shakespeare

Sonnet 31 – William Shakespeare

Sonnet 43 – William Shakespeare

Sonnet 63 – William Shakespeare

Sonnet 129 – William Shakespeare

Star System by Clive James

The Life of a Day – Tom Hennen

The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats

The Song of the Wandering Aengus by William Butler Yeats

This Is What You Shall Do – Walt Whitman