Voice Alpha

on reading poetry aloud for an audience

memorization ‘creates a new channel of intelligence’


Poetry Foundation’s Curtis Fox interviews Dan Beachy-Quick on memorization:

12 min 19 secs

DBQ: I think memorizing a poem in a strange sort of way gives that poem access to you more than you are giving yourself access to it … putting the poem in oneself, in one’s memory and mind … leaves the poem in me, it creates a new channel of intelligence in me that isn’t mine at all .. and that feels extraordinarily valuable to me as a poet.

Very interesting. Perhaps akin to one of my favorite themes: the impact of reading a poem aloud for an audience – voice is an organ of investigation that brings you information not otherwise available to you. Voice and memorization = interiorization in related ways.

Related Voice Alpha posts:
To read or recite?” by Dave Bonta
To read or recite? Dramatic vs Epic” by Dick Jones.

Author: Nic Sebastian

Nic is the author of Forever Will End On Thursday and Dark And Like A Web. She founded the now-archived Whale Sound site and is co-founder of The Poetry Storehouse. Nic blogs at Very Like A Whale and Voice Alpha.

2 thoughts on “memorization ‘creates a new channel of intelligence’

  1. Nic, this interiorization idea rings true to me. I have several Shakespearean monologues stuck inside me from my theatre days, and, indeed, the character opens up inside me somehow if I start reciting them–physically aloud or in the voice in my head. Even if I did not play the role but hear them–say, Hamlet saying, “I have of late…lost all my mirth” or “To be or not to be…,” the words/poetry make me connect and identify as if I did play the role, or live it.

  2. Very intriguing! I’m sticking to the hypothesis that this is a *physical* thing – whether one performs or works at memorizing one makes the words *physical*, one reifies them, takes them off the page. Is there anyone who memorizes all and only in the head? Everyone mutters or declaims or *something physical* when memorizing….

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