Symbol, Archetype, Tug of War, Metaphor

Flint on steel today from a random babble on making a eunuch out of Vin Diesel. A fellow friend fellow teaches an English course to college frosh, they’re doing poetry and now think everything is a symbol. I’ve been there.

The stuff I wrote in college [I’ll upload my chapbook and link it tonight] was more referential than symbolic I think. But folks seemed to read it as symbolic. Maybe it is. Maybe they didn’t know what symbolism means. Maybe I don’t know. I think in archetypes, I think; not symbols. I’m referential. Or was. I’m trying to be broadened now. Anyway.

I like the making of associations between easily understood archetypes and then plucking the string of that association in order to write the sound instead of writing the means of the sound. At least trying to. I tried to associate archetypes that wouldn’t normally run into each other so the sound of the string would be in a note not normally heard. Creating a tug of war between what the two archetypes are is what i am being been wont to pay[ing] attention to.

I never think “This flower shall be a symbol of capitalism” or “the monkey will represent ignominy.” So I use[d] things that are already there and representative of the pegs from which the sound of symbol can be written. Uh huh. So maybe archetypes are symbol after all, and I did in fact write with symbols. I doubt it, but revising, perhaps I felt no need to create my own symbols because they are already extant if you look for them. Maybe I thought then, as I sort of do now, tha symbolism only gets you in tune to play the metaphor.

That is what I’ve been trying to do lately, work on metaphor. Haiku is good practice on that. I sort of cut my teeth on symbol, played chopsticks with its possiblities and now I attempt larger works, maybe a sonata or something ragtime with metaphor. I think metaphor is more resilient, more universal. I would think that people would find it easier to grasp a metaphor rather than a symbol, especially if they are from another planet and do not have the necessary cultural background to comprehend a symbol.

Symbol and metaphor seem complementary, one is strong where the other is weak and they face different directions. It is all music though.

Comments and conversations on this post

  1. your use of archetypes and not symbols must be a metaphor for something. 🙂

  2. That may be so, but it is unintentional if it is so.

  3. Yes. Derrida. Yes.

    And, if you want to get (literary) theoretical about it, read selections from Roland Barthes. He plays with this kind of stuff, too. And, he is generally more accessible than Derrida. See Mythologies; S/Z; Roland Barthes; Image, Music, Text.

  4. I like cymbals.


  5. Six of one half dozen of the other. Referential v. Symbolic, because in either case you’re going to something that has to be interpretted and the interpreting process will vary from person to person – don’t you just love derrida. so maybe to you it’s a reference, and to someone else it’s a symbol and maybe those two things are the same? i mean, if we’re all always in the proces of seeing and “deconstructing”, then a reference is still no more than a sign post.

  6. to read others books on theoretcal thoughts, means that you stop thinking of you own. your literally dumbing your brain. please, i would love for you to email me and have a heated disscussion about this. thank you