Book Review: 30 Poems to Memorize (Before It’s Too Late)

30 Poems to Memorize (Before It’s Too Late) (hereafter 30 Poems) is a book that solicits questions. The title itself invites its readers to ask “why?” Why memorize a poem, when we can often find it online more easily? 30 Poems offers several compelling responses: a memorized poem “enters into your linguistic currency”(81). Memorized poems “point toward larger truths…they hang shining on [one’s] mental iconostasis”(101). As Editor David Kern notes in the preface, “to memorize is to inhabit and be inhabited by that which is transcendent”(x)…

How can we teach our entire bodies, and not just our heads and hands, the muscle memory that may support our memorization of poetry? A related question: could another reason to memorize poetry include healing the same bodies that we may use to memorize it?

Please read the entire book review over at The Englewood Review of Books, and let me know what you think!

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