I know, the last time you had to memorize and recite a poem was in high school, and it probably was a traumatic experience. But you should reconsider. Studies have shown that memorization improves memory skills. So here are a handful of poems that you might want to have a go at. I guarantee you will be the hit of your next party or family gathering, as well as extending the life of your brain. All of these are linked to a book in the library’s collection that contains the poem in question.
- Whoso List to Hunt — Thomas Wyatt
- Loveliest of Trees — A. E. Houseman (from A Shropshire Lad)
- The Destruction of Sennacherib — George Gordon, Lord Byron
- The Skylight — Seamus Heaney
- Sonnet 73 — William Shakespeare
- The Darkling Thrush — Thomas Hardy
If you are feeling ambitious and want to try a longer piece, here are some possibilities.
- Paul Revere’s Ride — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- Barbara Frietchie — John Greenleaf Whittier
- Lament for Makers — William Dunbar
For more choices, take a look at Committed to Memory: 100 Best Poems to Memorize.
And yes, I have memorized most of these at one time or the other, and can still recite parts of all of them.
Other favorite poems to memorize? List them in the comments.