Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and essayist William Stanley Merwin was known in the 1960s as an anti-war poet. Now an environmental activist, Merwin has published a new book of poems, The Shadow of Sirius, which addresses themes of memory and mortality.
Think of everything your brain processes in a single day: your breakfast, a stain on a book cover, a meeting at work. If you remembered all those things, your brain would reach capacity. Author and neuroscientist Penelope Lewis says sleep helps sort through the memories that are worth keeping.
For nearly 50 years, neuroscientist Suzanne Corkin worked with Henry Molaison, who lost most of his memory in 1953 after experimental surgery for severe seizures. Their work together taught us much of what we know today about memory, and she writes about Mollison and their work in her new book.
Psychologist Daniel Schacter is the author of the new book The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers. The book looks at memory loss and age, arguing that gaps in memory are normal if not necessary to a sharp mind. He's a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University.
His new film Memento, is about a man who is unable to make new memories since the violent murder of his wife. Now without a short term memory, he seeks to avenge her death. The movie stars Guy Pearce, with Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano. The script for Memento was based on a short story written by Johnathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan's brother. Memento is Christopher Nolan's second feature film; his first was the critically acclaimed 1998 film Following.
Professor of Psychology at Harvard, Daniel L. Schacter has studied memory for the past twenty years, the way the mind remembers. One chapter in his new book, "Searching for Memory: the brain, the mind, the past" is about the controversial issue of "repressed" memory.
Specialist in memory and language disorders, Dr. Barry Gordon. Gordon's book "Memory: Remembering and Forgetting in Everyday Life" (Mastermedia Ltd. The book can be ordered by calling 1-800-334-8232) looks at recognition, recall, memory blocks and the effects of drugs. The book also gives tips to increasing memory recall and dispels some common myths about the brain and memory. Gordon is a behavior neurologist, cognitive neuroscientist and experimental psychologist at Johns Hopkins University. (Interview by Marty Moss-Coane)
Psychologist and writer Carol Tavris. Her latest book, "The Mismeasure of Woman," looks at the widespread but unacknowledged custom of defining norms according to men's bodies and behavior. Tavris shows that the real differences in gender are in power, resources, and life experiences. She also wrote a review of two books dealing with incest, called "Beware the Incest-Survivor Machine," for The New York Times Book Review. In it, she calls for a more reasoned, cautious approach to a very complicated issue. The review received a fire-storm of letters from readers.
A pioneer in brain and memory research, Dr. Daniel Alkon has written a new book, called "Memory's Voice: Deciphering the Mind-Brain Code." He uses the example of one disturbed person to look at how the brain remembers -- a childhood friend who was abused by her father and emotionally scarred. Alton suggests that people like his friend never complely unlearn behavior brought upon by such traumas, and that the impressions made on a child's memory will permanently linger in the complexes of the brain.
Commentator Maureen Corrigan talks about her admiration of Erich Auerbach, Leon Trotsky, and Fernand Braudel, writers who were somehow able to write expansive, well-researched books while in prison or exile -- without notes or access to other texts and documents.
Poet Li-Young Lee. He was born into a family of political refugees from China. They traveled throughout Asia for years to escape persecution. In the mid-60's his family moved to Pennsylvania. Lee's poems reflect his struggle with his Chinese heritage - a heritage to which he is bound but in which he never lived. His poems also reflect Lee's attempt to come to terms with the powerful and mythic figure of his father, who was alternately imprisoned and revered for his beliefs.
Harold Brodkey is famous for working on his as-of-yet unpublished novel for the past thirty years. Some critics think he's brilliant; others call him a fraud. His work deals with consciousness and memory.
Foote is best known for writing the screenplay for To Kill a Mockingbird. A new book compiling the first four plays of his Orphan's Home series, called Roots in a Parched Ground, has just been published.