Old techniques for the poetry discipline

Hey all!

I’m doing a fair bit of research on poetry memorization before embarking on my own quest. I’ve stayed away from the competition and math corners of the site as it doesn’t align with my goals, but I’ve run into mentions here and there of the methods of poetry champions before it was removed from the international disciplines(though it seems to still be part of the American competition).

Do any of you kind souls have links to or remember the techniques competitors used for memorizing? I imagine the PAO system and memory palaces were a huge percentage of these, but I’ve heard sparse details about using emotions and other supplementary mnemonics to create stickier memories faster.

Oh Boy, I did not like this event at the USAMC haha Believe or not, but some of the top scores when I competed were based on repetition and writing it down. The poems we got had some flow to it and a bit of rhyming which helped.

What I used and got okay results with was using a memory palaces, having a symbol system, and memorizing most words. For the event, we had to remember everything word for word and punctuation or lose the whole line. You can find more info about the poetry event here at the USAMC

Do you need to memorize word for word or just want the general idea of the poem? Have you experimented with anything yet in terms of techniques?

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I’m a bit short on experience. I’m using stories, journey and spaced loci to remember people and hiking routes, but nothing like the techniques employed for rapid memorization.

My goal is verbatim, so I thought drawing advice from some of the Competitors would be great.

Do you mean something like a peg system when you say “symbol system”.

Do you know of any other blogs, competitors, etc. Where I can find technique-talk and advice? Or posts on this forum that somehow escaped the #poems tag?

Thanks for the reply mate!

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Ah okay so I can kind of see where you are with the techniques!

What I mean by symbol system is that I had images for , . ? { } ! and all the basic symbols because we had to write the poem perfectly.

Hmmm I am not too sure about where to find it for poetry. I know if you search how to memorize a book, then you will get something because people always want to memorize a book word for word. The methods can be applied to poems!

Hope that helps!


I’ve actually read most of the stuff on this site for verbatim memorization. It’s good stuff! Some of it is extremely heavy. Just wanted to get the perspective of the mental athletes on this stuff. I heard somewhere about using emotions to guide the mnemonic but I can’t find a deeper discussion of that anywhere.

Did you have pre-made images for the most common words?

I know that I do add emotions into any of my images and stories because that makes it a lot easier to remember things. For me personally, I took poems like random words since a poem is made up of words haha

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I did not because that never made sense to me since a poem is all fancy and probably would have a lot of words that wouldn’t be in the list. I did create images for the smaller words like to, be, the, and so on. You can have a red dog. But THE red dog also sounds right. So I would use the images for those smaller words to let me know which is the right small word in the poem

So what does “add emotion to your images” mean to you? What does that look like?