I’m adding this project to Mnemotechnics.org as a memory challenge in case anyone would like to join me. I’m going to go through the books over about 100 days, which allows about two days to read each of the 48 short books within the Iliad and Odyssey. Read more
Today, I’ve been walking around Naxos Town, placing mnemonic images for Keats’ To Autumn around the Portara. I’m wondering if my method is as efficient as it could be.
To start, here’s the poem: Read more
The video about Dr. Yip Swee Chooi’s memorizing a 1774 page dictionary keeps coming up in discussions about memory, so I decided to make a blog post that I can link to to reference the video (easier to find than the YouTube video).
Here is the video: Read more
In a few previous blog posts I’ve mentioned my mnemonic system for sounds. I’ve posted the mnemonic key online before, but the chart isn’t really self-explanatory.
The basic idea is that my mnemonic system for numbers and cards has a strict pronunciation method. Each one of the 2800+ images has a one syllable pronunciation. If I encounter nonvisual sounds in words or poetry, I have an large vocabulary of images that can be hooked onto the sounds. Read more
I’ve been experimenting with methods for memorizing poetry. Here are examples of the mnemonic images I used to memorize Hamlet’s famous soliloquy.
The Method of Loci
The method of loci is a mnemonic technique that goes back at least 2,500 years to the ancient Greeks. If you aren’t familiar with the method of loci yet, this post might not make a lot of sense. I recommend reading one of the memory books on my reading list or asking questions about it in the memory forum. A great book to start with is Dominic O’Brien’s How to Develop a Brilliant Memory Week by Week.
To quickly summarize the method: a mental journey is created, and the data to be memorized is converted into bizarre, exaggerated, visual images that are then placed along the imaginary journey, fooling the mind into believing that it has traveled along the journey. To recall the information, one mentally walks back through the journey, converting the visual images back into the original information that was memorized.
If you’ve never tried the method of loci, it may sound strange, but it’s the same basic concept that people use to memorize thousands of random digits. The key is to convert everything to visual images. Visual memory is incredibly powerful.
The Text to Be Memorized (from Hamlet)
In a blog comment, Jacob mentioned a book called By Heart: 101 Poems to Remember, compiled and edited by Ted Hughes. Since it was only $4 including shipping, I ordered a copy.
For anyone practicing poetry memorization, I found a site with some good poems to memorize [Update: the page no longer exists]. Another list is here.
Memrise.com is a very interesting website for learning languages, created by Greg Detre and Ed Cooke, mnemonist and author of Remember, Remember.
The website is still beta, but looks like it has a lot of potential. I’ve been going through the Mandarin characters section. The software shows a character with suggestions for mnemonics. Anyone can add a new mnemonic or edit an existing one. Read more
I think that learning a little about poetry structure yesterday was useful.
I started looking at some poems. This example is an excerpt by e. e. cummings: Read more