An Invitation to Dig: The Legacy of Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney, probably the most widely read and beloved poet of his time, died early Friday morning at a hospital in Dublin, at the age of 74. He had been going through a period of poor health, his family said. The outpouring of grief and loss at his passing bears witness to a legacy that cannot, as yet, be fully fathomed.Heaney’s poetry was deeply rooted in his Northern Ireland homeland: its farms and towns, its political strife, and its language and culture. He considered his own career as … [Read more...]

In Praise of Memorizing Poetry

It's refreshing to see someone stress the importance of memorizing poetry these days, as Brad Leithauser recently did in The New Yorker. He recounts the great Russian poet Joseph Brodsky, who made his students memorize roughly 1,000 lines of poetry in a semester (much to their dismay). In that vein, Leithauser describes the push-back he gets from his own students when he makes them memorize a single sonnet by Shakespeare.So why even bother memorizing poetry these days? Here's Leithauser's ba … [Read more...]