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October 16, 2011

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I love the idea of memorizing the poems one loves, whether by design or by repeated readings. It is the best way to possess a poem truly, to "own it," as a student of mine said in a class in which there was a required recitation each week. Back in 06 I wrote an op ed piece for the Wall Street Journal advocating memorization of verse. In fact it seems to me that the general cultural devaluation of rote learning was a dreadful, even calamitous mistake. Thanks for the column, Amy, sweet as an unheard melody. -- DL

I love this Rome assignment, not least because I'm sure the students who got the Keats by heart will bring back the places they heard it and recited it -- Hadrian's Villa, etc. -- each time they hear or recite the poem again.

And a small note, in the spirit of David's comment -- I make sure my students understand the difference between learning by rote and learning by heart...

Yours in the common pursuit,

jsc

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