William Maxwell wrote that "In talking about the past, we lie with every breath we draw". In a new anthology that draws together scientific, psychological, philosophical and literary reflections on memory, A S Byatt and HARRIET HARVEY WOOD reflect on how memory creates our sense of both individual and national identity. As science struggles to understand how the brain processes and stores memories, research shows that many of our memories are in fact false. Does it matter? Memory: An Anthology, co-edited with A S Byatt, is published by Chatto and Windus.

W B Yeats said "words alone are certain good" and it was one of his poems that inspired poet, critic and playwright TOM PAULIN to write his new book, The Secret Life of Poems: A Poetry Primer. Examining a series of poems and excerpts in minute detail, Paulin sets out to dissect the DNA of poetry, picking out rhythm, form, metre and sources to show that reading between the lines is no substitute for carefully examining them. The Secret Life of Poems: A Poetry Primer is published by Faber and Faber.

For the past 30 years Scottish composer JUDITH WEIR has been writing arresting new music inspired by subjects as varied as folk art, ancient Chinese lyrics and in her latest work, the city of London itself. Her career will be celebrated in Telling the Tale, a series of performances, talks and free events that make up the BBC Symphony Orchestra's annual January Composer Weekend at the Barbican in London. Telling the Tale runs from Friday 18 to Sunday 20 January at the Barbican. BBC Radio 3 starts its coverage of accompanying events at the Guildhall School of Music and LSO St Luke's on Wednesday 14 January.

As the number of modern stagings shows, Greek tragedy continues to resonate with modern audiences. PROFESSOR SIMON GOLDHILL'S new book, How to Stage Greek Tragedy Today, explores the complexities and intricacies of putting on a play originally meant for an audience of Athenians from the fifth century BC. How to Stage Greek Tragedy Today is published by Chicago University Press.

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Mon 14 Jan 2008 21:30