Memorization gets a bad rap these days. When criticizing a class, students often say something like, “It’s just a lot of memorization!” We equate memorization with busy work, something tedious that has no purpose. But many of the longest and greatest works of literature—such as Beowulf and the Iliad—existed entirely in memorized form before they were written down. Is there still a point to memorizing poetry even after the invention of writing?
I’d argue yes. I love memorizing poetry, even though it can be hard. Here are a few reasons why I think it’s worth it to commit poems to memory.