Category Archives: Music

How to Memorize Poetry

“My mind is aglow with whirling, transient nodes of thought…” Unfortunately for me, those thoughts are half-baked and incoherent right now. I need some mental exercises to get back into this new semester of uncertainty.

I have long abandoned the art of memorization. It is tedious. It mostly doesn’t agree with me. It is an awful way to learn. And I think it might be just the sort of cognitive medicine I need right now.

Accidental Professor Lynda Barry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison always has her students memorize poetry. I’m terrible at memorizing poetry. It turns out I’ve been doing it all wrong. Lynda Barry says we should set the poems to music as an aid to the memorizing process. Hmm, I guess I will have to try that. I have memorized many, many songs over the years.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in our soul,
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.

Hey, it’s working. I just typed that from memory and I have only been working at it off and on since earlier today.

Music to Shelter in Place By

It all started last evening. I decided to try out YouTube’s live broadcasting feature. I had not done a live broadcast before, except once with my students earlier this semester testing out some video streaming equipment. Certainly I had not performed music live. I decided to turn on the live stream and practice my uke.

An old friend, Contrajoe, showed up immediately. Now this is the Internet I know and love. Usually when I put something out into the wild blue yonder of current Internet, it is received by the sound of crickets. Contrajoe is a longtime subscriber and former heckler to my channel for more than a decade. But last evening, he was friendly, supportive, and encouraging me to do a live show about my Navy experiences. Someday I will. Someday soon.

Going online live is a simple feat. I will have to try this with my daughter, and let some people know. So we posted an invite to our social channels and texted a few family members, and Emily Fay and I went online to sing a few songs last night at 9 pm. This is what it was like:

So much fun, we will try it again!