Nick Seddon accepted a challenge to learn, by heart, 100 poems this year. Which 100 would you learn if you were doing it?
When this summer I accepted the madcap challenge to learn 100 poems in a year, I certainly didn't imagine it would be a life-changing experience. Indeed, having never attempted anything remotely like this before – I got all the way through school and university without learning a single poem – I'm not really sure what I expected at all.
OK, I'll admit I rather liked the idea of taking poems into my mind as one might pluck apples from a tree, a sort of intellectual kleptomania. And because it was conceived of as a race, I guess there was also a tinge of macho competitiveness. And yes, I suppose it did cross my mind that reciting poetry would be a sly way to seduce the ladies.
But those shady motives feel rather redundant now. Six months ago a friend and I drew up a list of our favourite poems and having been going strong ever since. I am half way through, but I'm no longer doing this simply because I want to reach the end point. It's been all about falling in love with poetry again, and discovering it as if for the first time.
Who's in with me on this?