9 abr. 2010

My method for memorizing.

(1) Read the poem (or passage of poem) slowly one time through, aloud.

(2) Look at the first line. Close your eyes and repeat the line to yourself three times. Repeat with all the other lines.

(3) Now do the same, but with groups of two or three lines at at time.

(4) Now begin to recite the poem. See how far you get. When you don't remember something, look at the text. Repeat, beginning with the beginning, five times.

(5) Now start where you got on your fifth attempt and use the same method until you reach the end of the poem.

(6) Now begin again at the beginning with the same method. The second time you should be able to get from the begining to the end of the poem on your fifth try.

(7) Recite the poem several times to make sure you really know it. Try to remember it the next day.

For longer poems, you'll need to break them down and do this with every short section, then try to put them all together at the end. For heavily enjambed poems, you'll need to memorize not just lines but phrases and sentences that jump the lines.

3 comentarios:

Thomas dijo...

It's out of fashion, but what's your opinion of the idea of requiring that, say, a BA in Spanish literature will only be granted if the student can recite, say, 10,000 lines of Spanish poetry from memory. (Independent of the competence shown in the selection and interpretation of those poems.)

Jonathan dijo...

Then I guess a lot of my colleagues would not be able to qualify for a B.A. in Spanish. I probably only know a third of that myself, it that, since I'm even a better forgetter than I am a memorizer. It would also tend to skew the curriculum in one particular direction and favor one kind of student. Out of fashion hardly cover it.

Only the other hand, I can see that being part of a single course early in the major. There's be an oral exam in which each student was responsible for knowing a half dozen short poems.

Thomas dijo...

Well, those colleagues were, perhaps, never asked to try. Even someone who only had 1000 or 100 lines left 5 years later would have learned something important about prosody.

But that figure of 10,000 is arbitrary. I don't know what more realistic number is. But I wonder how many lines the average student today could recite from memory at the time of graduation. I don't think only one kind of student would benefit from more memorization than (I imagine) is being encouraged these days.

I think a lot of the time spent talking about what Shakespeare "meant" in today's classrooms could be better spent learning what Hamlet said.