Sunday, May 09, 2021

The poem as a map to walk: Memorizing Adrienne Rich's "Dreamwood"

Since I've begun to experience the pleasure of memorizing literary texts and have discovered that memorization opens up new perspectives for criticism and interpretation, I have learned three Adrienne Rich poems by heart that my students chose for discussion in our seminar: "For Memory", "Dreamwood", and "The Novel". "Dreamwood" is especially nice to recite from memory: it describes how the woman in the poem sees the scratched wood of a writing table as "a map laid down to memorize / because she might be walking it." Every time I run through the poem again, out loud or in my mind, I see the poem as that map, with me walking it. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 9 May 2021)

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