While we certainly read a lot of poems at The Reader Organisation, we’re not too sure how many we could recite from heart (although, some of our Project Workers may want to say otherwise…?). Yet as poetry does so much for the heart, mind and soul – as experienced week after week in our Get Into Reading groups across the country – it seems that learning the words of them by heart is a rather good way of doing things, not only challenging the capacity of our memory but enriching our personal experiences with the poem in doing so.
One person charging into the world of poetry mnemonics is Steve Wasserman, who is taking on the impressive feat of learning one poem by heart a week for the next year – quite a testing task, but one which is very rewarding. You can read more about his reasons for starting the project and chart his progress with the poems over on the Read Me Something You Love By Heart blog – and if learning a poem by heart sounds like something you’d like to have a go at doing yourself, you can take up the challenge by sharing the poems that come from your heart. There are already some inspiring contributions there, including one from Get Into Reading London Project Worker Megg Hewlett.
Once you’ve memorised your poem, you can get together with fellow By-Hearters at a special celebratory event at the beautiful and very atmospheric Abney Park Chapel in London. Held appropriately on National Poetry Day, Thursday 4th October, the evening will be a celebration of poems learnt by heart which promises to be especially heart-lifting. We’re also honoured that the event will be fundraising for The Reader Organisation’s Apprenticeship: Building Opportunities For Life Programme – it’s especially fitting that reciting a piece of literature that will last a lifetime in the mind of one person should help contribute towards making a real difference in the life of another, that of a young care-leaver.