Wake: Up to Poetry
Poetry By Heart
Earlier this week, the Poetry Book Society (UK) announced that Sinéad Morrissey is the winner of the TS Eliot Poetry Prize. We published Morrissey in our first Wake Forest Series of Irish Poetry and The New North: Contemporary Poetry from Northern Ireland.
The Independent asks Morrissey if she is in favor of students in school learning poetry by heart and she replies, “An important aspect of poetry’s power is its ability to cast a spell over those listening to it – its basic mechanics, rhyme and rhythm exist in order to do precisely this in the act of oral delivery.” One could argue that poetry, is fading from culture because it is not read allowed more often. The act of memorization allows the reader to, as Moorissey puts it “own” the words. Reading poetry is important, but schools should require students to memorize and speak poetry aloud because the act of memorization makes the work personal, and the repetition of saying the work takes the reader from passively reading into a more active, speaking role. Interacting with poetry on multiple levels is important. Which poems have you memorized? When? I remember resisting the memorization of “O Captain! My Captain!” By Walt Whitman in 9th grade for honors English class, but willingly learning “I dwell in Possibility,” by Emily Dickinson as a 17 year old out of enthusiasm and love for the poem.
Sinéad Morrissey joins Wake Forest Press poets Michael Longley, Paul Muldoon, and Ciaran Carson as winners of the TS Eliot Prize. Here is the interview.
Posted By: Sophie