As part of our memorize poetry project, on most days we tweet a few lines of poetry. We started with The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot. When this is complete, we will move to much more concise The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams.
Memorizing poetry gives you a feel for the language, exercises the brain, entertains when your electronics are dead, and carries on a tradition that predates writing. If you just memorize two lines a day you will have a good collection in a month or two.
This is a collection of poems we have memorized in whole or in part. We also send out a few lines each day via our Twitter feed (#memorize poetry).
More poetry to memorize:
We who are old are marvelously blessed by the use of glasses. Inexcusable the ingratitude of mankind to bury in oblivion the name of that benefactor, the inventor, the original fashioner of glasses, when there stand on record innumerable murderers oppressors and thieves under the name of conquerers.
From Robert Ashley’s 1883 Opera for Television, Perfect Lives
Pictures taped to our window,
Roosevelt Bassett makes objects from lath he salvaged from demolished houses in North Philadelphia. We first ran across his work in 2006. This film by Ron Stanford profiles this remarkable artist.
Brother Francis / opened his class / by reading off the names of that day’s dancers at the Troc./ He carried a stick filled with brandy / and had taught a one armed man to type.
there are few / left who remember the day / the rain fell so /fast/ the car slipped / from the road
others sat waiting / quietly weeping and waiting for / the rain to cease / to / quiet down taper off / then stop
the earth didn’t / so much as move as explode / outward before collapsing taking / the /swings, the dog house, / the family pet
some of them / could walk while others sat / in the shade watching / lines / being painted on the / rebuilt interstate highway
more than one / thing to do makes one /seem busy and overworked / but / what if the things / are not difficult
Dean Drummond – 1949-2013.
This clip was recorded at the University of Washington in 2012.
John Cage and Merce Cunningham discuss their practice in this 1981 Walker Art Center Interview
In 1996, Charles Cave put together a Finnegans Wake FAQ. Since then, the expansion of the web has not only made much more research and textual work available, but also delivered a very broad array of films, readings, and art directly related to the Wake. As a result, I thought it made sense to dust off and update the original FAQ. The premise remains that Joyce meant the Wake to be read and enjoyed. Updates will be made in that spirit. The FAQ is available here.
This American Masters film was made near the end of John Cage’s life. Posted here on what would have been his 100th Birthday.
The player will show in this paragraph
” The limits of language are not the stopping point, says the Wake; they are the point at which we must begin to tell the tale.”
- Michael Chabon
The work of James Joyce is leaving copyright, an event much anticipated by scholars and those who believe the Joyce Estate’s interpretation of fair use and its support for creative endeavors is as enlightened as The Walt Disney Company’s. A lot of ink and pixels have been spilled or set dancing on the topic. You can read this blog post from The New Yorker as an illustration. For now, a word of caution is in order. No doubt the Estate will remain on the lookout for rogue readers, singers, actors, and artists. Watch out for knock offs of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. Stick with the Random House or Gabler texts for Ulysses. A new edition of Finnegans Wake is also expected, followed no doubt by a dust-up over edits mirroring that of the Gabler / Kidd “scandal of Ulysses” episode in the late 1980s.
Speaking of Finnegans Wake, we have our own reasons to celebrate the expiration of copyright. We plan to relaunch of a more ambitious version of PROJECT: Finnegans Wake. If you wish to participate, go here. Also, many years ago, the idea of performing 26 Songs From Finnegans Wake never got off the ground as the Estate objected. If you wish to set up a performance, the score along with our first preparation is available here. Let us know your plans!