150 Days Tang Poem Challenge

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Aug 1, 2017 15:06 poem memory 漢字 kanji 唐詩
Before I start something new, usually I don’t think about it deeply. Yesterday I started “150 Days Tang Poem Challenge”: to recite 300 poems of Tang dynasty of China in 150 days. You memorize two poems a day, you’ll accomplish it in 150 days. Yesterday, without any contemplation, on WeChat (the social media used by almost every Chinese) I announced that I started this challenge. And the post received huge reaction from friends, which makes me not draw back…oh.

Once I started, I found out that to recite a verse is easy, but to keep it memorized is not easy. It seems that not only reciting two poems a day, but also I have to refresh the memories of all poems I’ve learned by that day. I still am not sure if I can remember 300.

But I have learned long ago that once we get used to memorize a style of verse, it gets easier to memorize more examples. I compare this with formatting a hard disk. Once our brains are formatted and the file systems (Chinese poem system, in this case) are implemented, we’re ready to save the data.

Because of the aligned style, the characters, vivid images and the flow of context, Chinese poems are easy to recite. In other words, Chinese verses have solid structures, which help our memory.

Ancient Brahmans and Buddhists in India recited their bibles consist of tens of thousands of lines before those words were written down. Jews did the same to inherit the Talmud. Both Iliad and Odyssey were handed down in this way until Homer brought them to the text. And in all the cultures which did not have characters, the stories, poems, myths, commandments, history, laws and everything is stored in human memory, usually in forms of verse. Ancient people had such incredible memory, which makes us envious of it. Relying on writing weakens our memory.
Now I’m trying to train my weak memory to fight the brain aging, haha.
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