The Memory Book Project

The Memory Book Project is a move toward depth, toward slowness, toward connection.

More immediately, it’s a way to graft new poems onto my heart, and also to get over something I’m afraid to be terrible at: speaking poems aloud.

The project was active from April 2020 through the end of March 2021. Some collected thoughts after its end can be found here.

Archive of recitations:

Gethsemane (Mary Oliver)
The Life of a Day (Tom Hennen)
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (Robert Frost)
Against Panic (Molly Fisk)
On Bodies (Tara K. Shepersky)
Always Home (Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer)
A Sacrament (Paulann Peterson)
Why I Wake Early (Mary Oliver)
Sabbath Poems 1999: VII (Wendell Berry)
The Resemblance Between Your Life and a Dog (Robert Bly)
Full Moon (David Baker)
Try to Praise the Mutilated World
(Adam Zagajewski, trans. Clare Cavanaugh)
The Dream of Now (William Stafford)
Justicia (Barbara Kingsolver)
The Lake Isle of Innisfree (W. B. Yeats)
The Peace of Wild Things (Wendell Berry)
Lark (Robert Macfarlane)
A Small Needful Fact (Ross Gay)
When I am Among the Trees (Mary Oliver)
Shell (Adam Zagajewski, trans. Clare Cavanaugh)
Poetry (William Stafford)
Interruption to a Journey (Norman MacCaig)
I Go Down to the Shore (Mary Oliver)
Warning (Shel Silverstein) — An unofficial post. Or a bonus, if you like.

This is the memory book:

I introduced it here and here.

Long story short: it’s a book full of handwritten poems, mine and other people’s. I write them down in here once I’ve memorized them. Then comes the public part, the project: twice a month I speak one into a recording device and post it here for anyone to listen.

(If you’re wondering why I bother with a memory book, since I’ve just said I have these poems in my head, I’ll answer with a line from Molly Fisk, and a link from Nicole Dieker: “how valuable it is in these short days.”)

The project runs April 2020—April 2021. Recorded poems to date are listed at the top of this page.