How To Memorize Poetry

Hi, guys! Thanks for checking out this video.
One of the most common questions that I get asked as a spoken word poet is, “How do you
memorize all that?” Well, today we’re going over just that: My own personal memorization
process. And stick around because at the end of this video I’m going to have one tip that
I think can benefit all spoken word poets. So thanks for watching, and please let me
know what you think in the comments below. Thanks again for checking this out. Now, let
me offer a disclaimer before I continue: There are no rules when it comes to poetry, spoken
word or otherwise. There are no rules; there’s no right and wrong; there are just guidelines.
So this particular video is going to talk about my own personal memorization process.
One of the first things that I tell people when it comes to memorizing poetry is that
it has a lot to do with how I write it. I’m going to put this up on the screen so that
you can check it out. The poem that I chose to use for this example is called, “It’s Not
That Simple,” and I’ll leave a link in the description so you can check it out if you’d
like. One of the first things you’ll notice upon looking at this poem is that it’s broken
up into chunks. Each separated by these ellipses marks. The reason for that is that I can make
these nice bit-sized chunks, as you can see here and here. Now, if we zoom in a little
bit here, you’ll notice that every line ends with a punctuation mark, and I do that on
purpose, so that the chunks that we’ve already made I can break those down even further into
individual lines. Now, once I’ve gotten it written out, it’s all about rote memory at
this point. It’s about reading over and over and over and over again. And let me put it
up on the screen so you can check out really quick exactly what I mean. Don’t worry; it’s
not as daunting as it sounds. Now the key here is that I’m going to focus on this line
here. I’m going to forget about all over this. I do not need it. I’m going to focus on just
this line until I have it memorized and can do it with my eyes closed. Then, once I’ve
got this one memorized, then I can move on to the next one. And, again, forget all about
this; I want to focus on this one line. Keep repeating it until I get it down and can do
it with my eyes closed. And then, once I have this line memorized, then I can go ahead and
add it to the first line. The key is not to move on to the next line until you have the
one before it completely memorized 100%. And, again, don’t worry about this stuff down here;
it’s not going to effect you right now. And then once I have the top two memorized, then
I can go ahead and start working on the third line; memorizing that. And, again, don’t worry
about any of the stuff below it or above it; work on memorizing that specific line. Now,
once I have the third line, then I can go ahead and add it to the two lines that I’ve
already memorized. Boom. Now I have three lines already down; didn’t take that long.
By this point, you should have the top two lines memorized. Do not–and I’ll repeat it
and I’m sounding like a broken record–DO NOT move on until you have the previous lines
memorized. Once you have those three lines or those two lines, then focus on memorizing
them as a whole, one after the other. And just keep repeating those two lines, or those
three lines, over and over and over again until you have them as their own individual
memorized chunk. Hopefully now you can understand what I mean when I say that my own personal
memorization process has a lot to do with how I write it. And, like I said before, it’s
not as daunting as it sounds. We’re breaking it up into small, little, digestible chunks.
So you go ahead and repeat that and repeat that and repeat that, and you’ll get that
and then add it on to the next; it’s just like anything that we’ve learned in school:
We built a foundation, we built up on top of that. Just like with that, as far as memorizing
my spoken word poetry it’s building a foundation of those first few lines. Once you get that,
then you can start building on top of it. One of the biggest tips that I can offer to
spoken word poets is that they should remember poetry in general is a display of mastery
of the language; SPOKEN WORD poetry is not only the display of mastery of the language,
but mastery of the SPOKEN language. That’s important to remember because what will set
you apart from other spoken word poets is your delivery. That means your tone of voice,
your inflection, your dynamics; everything that you have within you, you need to bring
that out. If you’ve ever taken a communication course or speech course, then you’ll know
that there is a lot that goes into speaking a language. There’s dynamics, there’s tone
of voice, there’s inflection, there’s body language. All of these different things we,
as spoken word poets, we have to master those things before we go out on that stage. So,
if there’s any tip that I can offer to anyone, it’s to remember that poetry is the mastery
of the language, spoken word poetry is a mastery of the SPOKEN language. Think about it, because
that means A LOT. I hope this was informative; I hope that you were able to learn something
and take something away from this video with you. If you were, please let me know what
it was in the comments below. If you weren’t, please let me know what you’d like to see
in the next video. Thanks again for watching; I really appreciate it.

95 Replies to “How To Memorize Poetry

  1. I find it both helpful and interesting to know your process. I've always wanted to turn my written poetry into spoken word, or at least, able to recite it. After your video, for the first time ever, recited aloud a short poem (that has turned into a song) and giving my voice to it as a poem, completely changed how I felt about it emotionally. I wish I had somewhere to go to attempt to stand up and share it, just to see how that would feel. I will try your method with something I don't know by heart and see how it goes. Thank you for this video, and all of your poetry, and for who you are. (Btw, this is your FB friend, Nicole R.βœπŸ»πŸ—£βœ¨πŸ€”πŸ™‚).

  2. Thank you for this video!!! ^_^ I was horribly nervous about an audition for a spoken word event; this video helped me out.

  3. Great advice about the punctuation! That's really creating a specific focus to pin down. I actually created my own video on memorizing poetry and completely overlooked that.

    Thanks for the info! Keep up the good content!

  4. I've been doing this since a kid because I have many of recorded spoken word, hundreds.

    Record it , listen to it over and over and over again until you know what's coming next.
    You'll never know it all until you know it all if that makes since so be patient.Next write it down on paper while listening to it on record. Then repeat.

  5. Just wonderful, I have been researching "how to memorize things" for a while now, and I think this has helped. You ever tried – Yeetta Gradeify Scores – (Have a quick look on google cant remember the place now ) ? Ive heard some super things about it and my co-worker got great success with it.

  6. I completely forgot I have a two verse poem for tomorrow and I know that sounds easy but I have to perform it in front of my class and I get anxious and I start shaking, then I’ll start mumbling and forgetting words and the class will go silent. So embarrassing I just can’t control how nervous I get πŸ™

  7. One of Churchill's few academic achievements.
    He was awarded a prize at Harrow for a complete recitation.
    Do you know anyone who can repeat that feat?

  8. yea but I didn't wright this poem its in school and we have to practice it by Monday and I'm struggling I don't want to be embarrassed especially in front of the whole class ;(

  9. thx so much had to learn Aria by David Barber by tomorrow and it worked πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  10. I do this but it makes it visually easier just to get 2 or 3 different colored highlighters and use them. first line, first color. second line, 2nd color. etc. it makes it a lot easier on your eyes and makes chunky poems look easy when divided into groups.

  11. Thanks for taking the time to watch! Please let me know if you found it helpful. Also if you liked it please click that red SUBSCRIBE button above (it's free, and let's you keep up-to-date with my videos). Thanks! πŸ’™

  12. I have to memorize the poem β€œPaul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for tomorrow. Thank you for the tips!

  13. I have to learn two poems one is Russian and other is first Lithuanian one it's on Tuesday (I think it's Tuesday it's after Monday it weekend)

  14. Omg, I'm late but I'm having a poem tomorrow and It's extremely long. I couldn't memorize it because I didn't properly learn the previous chunk. Finally, I understand it! Thank you a lot, you just saved my grade! :,D

  15. You can't beat it. You can't beat it so don't defeat it. Just repeat it. And it'll be all right for you. (Little Richard)

  16. Im in ireland and I have to learn a irish poem which I do not understand so its even harder for me kuz I have no idea wot the poem is about HELP

  17. I've memorized 119 poems in the last three years, and it was interesting how similar your meThod is the way I've learned these poems–using junks and learning lines one by one. Thanks for the video!

  18. The poem that I memorizing right now has 26 and 1 two-longed stanzas!!!! I hope this works!!!!

  19. i had another thing that you can memorize a poem;
    Read it first and then try memorizing it when you had a mistake try again all over again when you had a mistake thats what i always do. read it and memorize when i had a mistake ill try again! my poem was 1-10 stanza πŸ˜‚πŸ˜­πŸ˜­

  20. Thank you. I have come late to portraying my creativity. It is so helpful to see that creating a poem is showing mastery of language and spoken language. Keep enjoying your life.

  21. Ugh I gotta memorize this by Monday and say it with actually and I had to wrote it too thank God I'm coming outta skl this year

  22. ✨🌾 🌾 🌾
    πŸ‘Ÿ πŸ‘Ÿ
    (:Π·γ€βˆ ) SEEMS LEGIT

  23. Guess who has social anxiety me
    Guess who has to preform a poem that has 20 lines infront of a full class me
    Guess who has no idea how the friggen poem starts me
    Guess who has an A whole teacher who gives you a week to learn it me
    Guess who’s always busy me
    Guess who’s teacher refuses to let you have a piece of paper to help me
    In conclusion Im FrIgGeN sCrEwEd

  24. You are literally a LIFE SAVER! Lol. I have to read two poems in front of my whole class and my English teacher tomorrow! And I just started working on memorizing itπŸ˜…πŸ˜‚

  25. SO COOL,I need to MEMORIZE the poem tomorrow so im finding some video that can help me MEMORIZE the poem easily.Thank you thank you thank you very much.

  26. Hoping I can memorize this before next Monday so I get a 110 ☺️ because I truly need that for my dual class

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