Memorize a poem. Find a verse that is especially appealing to you. It could be the sentiment, the vivid use of imagery, a sense of doom or of hope, that speaks to you. It may appeal to you in a way that you might not even understand.

Read the poem out loud to see how it sounds to hear yourself recite. Now start to memorize it, line by line. Memorize the first line to the point at which it just rolls off your tongue. Then go on to the second line, and continue putting two lines together until you have mastered the verse.

When memorizing, it's better to go back to the poem many times for short periods than to put in a lot of time infrequently. Ten minutes per day is better than one hour a week.

Recite the poem to someone special. Ask if he or she would like to hear what you've been working on, and stand up and enunciate clearly and with feeling. Then, when the mood strikes again, memorize more poetry. Some of my favorites are Rainer Maria Rilke's "Duino Elegies" and Lew Welch's "Ring of Bone."

Alan Epstein in How to Be Happier Day by Day