I don't even remember the last time I learned a poem by heart, but this piece in the New York Times Book Review caught my attention. Jim Holt has memorized a lot of poetry. "It’s all about pleasure. And it’s a cheap pleasure," he writes.
One should be skeptical, though, of some of the alleged advantages cited by champions of poetry memorization. “I wonder if anyone who has memorized a lot of poetry . . . can fail to write coherent sentences and paragraphs,” Robert Pinsky once said. Well, responded David Bromwich, just take a look at the autobiography of Marlon Brando, who memorized heaps of Shakespeare.