Yesterday Blog of a Bookslut included a post by a guy from New Britain, which is of modest interest to those of us who know people going to college there. Said blogger linked to four essays on memorizing and reciting poetry. I chose a shorter one with large print so that I could read it on the treadmill. (That's my criteria for much of my reading material--Can I read it on the treadmill?)
So I read Preface: Recitation Considered as a Fine Art by Jerome McGann. Favorite bits:
As we know, students--most ordinary and intelligent people, for that matter--imagine poems are difficult, full of deep meanings that have to be deciphered...Above every poem we "teachers" have inscribed a hellish warning: Abandon hope, all you who enter here.
In my experience, many difficulties of meaning disappear when students begin to construct and perform recitations.