Paraphrasing: A good method for memorizing poems

I use this method to memorize poems. It works really well.

  1. KEYWORD IN LOCI- First, pick one keyword per line, and place them in your memory palace.
  2. PARAPHRASE TEST- On a paper, Paraphrase each word by replacing it with another English word. Replace only verbs nouns adjectives etc. No need to paraphrase articles and prepositions like - the, and, of, they. THEN recall the real words while looking at the paraphrased text (Tip: while attempting this, when you get stuck, use the FIRST LETTER TEST below as an hint, before checking the real text).
  3. FIRST LETTER TEST - write out first letter initials of the text. THEN recall the real words while looking at this.
  4. OFF HEAD - By now, it is very familiar and easy to recall by heart. Use the keywords in the memory palace to guide you. Practice, practice, practice.

For relatively short poems,
You can even do it without the first step (ie. memory palace).

Also, It works better if you put the FIRST LETTER TEST and PARAPHRASE TEST side by side ie. First line of PARAPHRASE TEST on left side of a table, and first line of INITIALS TEST on the right.

I normally Repeat one test till it becomes easy, before moving to the next test.

Hope this helps. any tips improvements will be appreciated. Cheers :clinking_glasses:.

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Why not visualize the verses and then those visuals tight them into one loci, in order to achieve stanza per location within your memory palace?


Thanks for the idea. Actually, I have memorized many poems by visualizing the verses in one loci.

I have memorized many poems with this paraphrase method also.

I prefer the systematic nature of this method. Paraphrasing one word at a time.

While converting to a new word, you have to visualize the meaning of each word, so there is still a great deal of underground visualizing going on.

You just use loci method for storing one unique word per line, for really long poems. It organizes the lines, and keeps you from getting lost.

The usual method of visualizing the verses in one loci is the popular method but having tried both - for me this is faster, systematic, just as effective, and even sharable (you can share your paraphrase test). Plus people can still benefit from this method before they master the method of loci.

I believe the more choices we have about which method to use, the better for us. Its just another alternative that I wanted to share.

:clinking_glasses: Cheers

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Have you tried live songs/poems memorization?

This is a good way to test speed of memorization of text. While the recall time will depend or even determined how well or whether or not you did memorized the text (song/poem in this case).

Good idea. No I have not tried that. Though I am sure the method of loci will be useful in rapidly storing the key ideas per line.

The method of loci is best for memory championship because of this speed.

This paraphrase method works best for memorizing text verbatim. The method of loci definitely helps to hold key ideas and their sequence.

Practicing for verbatim recall is much smoother with this paraphrase method though. Before I started using the method, I made many mistakes during my practice sessions even with loci method.

There is a method for verbatim memorization where you “turn each word into an image which is placed in one memory loci”. I personally have always found this method to be really out-of-context and cumbersome. I guess it is because I am not training for any memory championship. I just want to memorize text irrespective of how many reviews are necessary for this.

Cheers :clinking_glasses:

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Yes, I don’t do this. When I tried to do this, I end up copping together phrases and now I have the habit of verses to sentences and paragraphs. Though I take visualization and imagination in general seriously.

I can turn sentences and even paragraphs into images, place them in loci. I didn’t even realize how much I’m encoding when I do it with a song in active listening. If this method you use is enough for you, I’m good. Just saying, that, for instance, the method of loci was strictly used for the memorization of knowledge and speeches, it was for some a topic to be taught in the training of rhetoric.

I value the method of loci for this power it allows. My meta goal is to achieve the level of the legend of Metrodorus of Scepsis.

Things I can do, doubt are not doable by others however incapable they feel:

  • Memorize ideas, thoughts and what’s heard.
  • Memorize texts verbatim: I prefer to not do word/loci, at minimum sentence/loci. The more words I group together the easier to memorize the text and it feel less tedious.
  • Memorize peg lists. (Any code script)
  • Memorize algorithms.
  • Memorize complex scripts like programming languages vocabulary (proper word).
  • Mix pegged images from my lists to my text memorization.
  • My current recommendation is method of loci + link system, as MoL aids the first image in the link system to never get lost, and it’s all about good review practice to not forget.
  • Also I recommend, the conceptualization of images and when it makes sense for a topic to symbolize and add as much understood ideas to a central concept without compromising the visuals, rather elaborating from it: Image Palace = an image as multiple loci.

That’s all I have to say, I guess. Good habit in your journey!!