“Demain, dès l’aube, à l’heure où blanchit la campagne, Je partirai […] je sais que tu m’attends. J’irai par la forêt, j’irai par la montagne. Je ne puis demeurer loin de toi plus longtemps”. This poem by Victor Hugo is printed in my mind because when I was a child I studied French at school and I used to learn poems by heart! How to focus on studies? How to study better? Not learning by heart, as Laraine Flemming wrote, but choosing what stimulates your mind positively in order to help you to use the language to express yourself!
HOW TO FOCUS ON STUDIES
In the interview at Mario Rinvolucri on Officina.it, the journalist reports the words of Eva Hoffman: “Words have become an obsession. I collect them, I put them aside like a squirrel stocking up on nuts for the winter, I take them in and it’s never enough for me. But by dint of swallowing maybe, I can incorporate the tongue, making it part of my psyche and my body”. And the ones of Mario Rinvolucri: “The exercise illustrates how listening or reading we create a whole world of ‘images’ starting from the words that come to us through the eyes and ears (I put ‘images’ in quotation marks because the representations can be acoustic, gustatory, olfactory and kinesthetic as well as visual)”.
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HOW TO STUDY BETTER
I recommend you starting from something “easier” but very “suggestive” as the poems of Sandro Penna. As you know poetry, like music, is not so immediate to understand. You need time and reflection. The brevity can help you to work deeply and finally to enjoy it. Or you can start from the “line” poems of Salvatore Quasimodo or Giuseppe Ungaretti (Mattina, Veglia, Soldati) or, why not, Alda Merini. Go on with Eugenio Montale (Non chiederci la parola, Spesso il male di vivere) or Umberto Saba (Trieste) or Antonia Pozzi. Online you can find people who love these poets and their poetry and you can join the online groups if you are looking for help. Here there are different links to work on Italian poetry, for example, this or this one.
Do you know the story of Suzanne Clearly? She tried to learn Italian, instead she wrote a poem. Quite strange, isn’t it? Maybe you have heard about Jumpha Lahiri . She finds herself inside the language. She wrote: “Every unknown word a jewel. I make a list of terms to look up, to learn. Imbambolato, sbilenco, incrinatura, capezzale, sgangherato, scorbutico, barcollare, bisticciare (dazed, lopsided, crack, bedside or bolster, unhinged, crabby, sway, bicker). After I finish a book, I’m thrilled. It seems like a feat. I find the process more demanding, yet more satisfying, almost miraculous”. I can hear you saying they are writers and you not! It could happen also to you.
About this, I suggest you two activities. The first one is an easy exercise by Anthony Mollica “The Cinquain”: – on the first line, write down a noun: a person, a place or a thing; – on the line below, write two adjectives, separate them by a comma; – on the third line, write three verbs that tell what the noun on the first line does, separate them by commas; – on the fourth line, write a thought about the noun, a short sentence will be enough; – on the fifth line, repeat the word you wrote on the first line or write down a synonym. The second, if you prefer symbolistic poetry and you are more digital with less time, is to choose the Italian words you prefer and to put them in a wordle : )
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