A Year of Living Poetically

Mensa for kids waxes — well, poetic, about the extraordinary lifetime value of memorizing poetry — a skill that was more routine in times past. This quote from Michael Knox Beran:

quote “Memorizing poetry turns on kids’ language capability. It not only teaches them to articulate English words; it heightens their feel for the intricacies and complexities of the English language — an indispensable attainment if they are to go on to speak, write, and read English with ease. Susan Wise Bauer, author of The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had, argues that memorization builds into children’s minds an ability to use complex English syntax. The student who memorizes poetry will internalize the rhythmic, beautiful patterns of the English language.”

Excerpt from In Defense of Memorization by Michael Knox Beran


Their full page, devoted to this, details even more reasons why this is so valuable. And offers some how to advice, plus some additional resources.

Below are a list of suggested poems which, learned one per month, will yield a lifetime treasure trove in a year. The full text of these poems are linked at the site.



  1. No Man is an Island” by John Donne
  2. “Sonnet 116” by William Shakespeare
  3. “The Road not Taken” by Robert Frost
  4. “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley
  5. “Death be not Proud” by John Donne
  6. “Sonnet” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
  7. Teddy Roosevelt quote
  8. “RichardCory” by Edward Arlington Robinson
  9. “Hope is the Thing with Feathers” by Emily Dickinson
  10. “A Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  11. “The Cloths of Heaven” by William Butler Yeats
  12. “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night” by Dylan Thomas


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