Scrabble tiles stacked in a pyramid spelling out "foundation"
Photo: Brett Jordan, Unsplash

Memorising a poem by heart is a foundational development tool, producing a broad range of benefits and a depth of impact far beyond anything else, bar prolonged study or practice.

Ezra Pound, Robert Graves, Edwin Muir, Kathleen Raine, William Everson, Robert Bly, Les Murray, Wendell Berry, and—to name one non-poet—Camille Paglia; all advocated for poetry’s primal role in human development, and that it’s use as a development tool was far more valuable for people than examining them on it, especially under a measurement-based system of assessment.

Unfortunately, in modern education memorising poetry has been discarded and replaced with a destructive dissection and classification of poetry, depriving growing adults of its benefits, and turning them away from the array of tools it provides.

When based around knowledge of a poem, and centred around the participants’ own creations, mentored through the expert guidance of our teaching artists; the benefits are multiplied in many ways.

Part of that will be a deeper understanding of the areas they have focused on in the poem they wrote. Part will be a deeper understanding of themselves. Do it in teams and part will be a far deeper understanding of the people around them.

Part will be in communication

Some will be in accomplishment

Much will be in connection.