The Poetry Project


Memory Palaces: Visions, Echoes, Forms — 10-Session Workshop Lucy Ives

The top half of this collaged image is a black & white drawing of a large and orderly garden, and the bottom half is an x-ray of a human skull from multiple angles.

At a time when digital techniques for saving and indexing allow us to consolidate endless memory in pocket-size devices, what memorial power remains in a sentence or line? This workshop is an intensive introduction to the work of art as mnemonic device, or system to aid and deepen, and/or create, memory. In this series we will explore strategies by means of which memory may be housed in or recovered via writing. Following Frances Yates’s descriptions of occult visual and literary technologies in The Art of Memory and through varied prompts and exercises, we will compose our own “memory palaces,” provisional structures though they may be. And we will consider other texts that both act as mnemonics and describe tactics for seeking, containing, inscribing, preserving, transforming, and reimagining memory, particularly in postcolonial and postmodern contexts. Nor will we overlook the dynamics of forgetting.