I’ve felt like I’ve needed to learn poetry this year. By heart.
You might have had this feeling too? You may have thought, or perhaps even said these words aloud to someone sitting across the way from you on the sofa reading Joan Didion: “I need to learn this poem, Trevor. I need to commit it to memory. There is something in this poem that I need to digest slowly and carefully and with utmost concentration.”
Where does this need come from? Why poetry? Why share it with the Didion reader, or anyone else for that matter? These are questions I cannot fully answer, though I’ve been having a go at finding my own answers for a while.
A woman who has been learning poetry and thinking about what it means to do so for over a decade now is Kim Rosen. Some of my burning questions were answered in her thrilling and moving Saved By A Poem book. Others she addressed in our RMSYL chat a few weeks ago, as well as reciting and talking about Marie Howe’s What the Living Do.