25 nov. 2007

Why I am not a Lorquista

I am very bad at interpreting symbols in poetry. For example, today I was reading some articles that explained why Lorca had put in certain animals in a very difficult poem. There were plausible explanations for the langosta, but the explanations seemed equally possible for the langosta as "lobster" and the langosta as "locust." I found myself not caring too much. The more clever the interpretation of the symbol, the more distance traveled between the natural object, its more or less "transparent" sense, and its symbolic interpretation, the less convincing it is. Yet some degree of doing this is necessary to interpret and understand some Lorca poems.

Maybe I am not interested in "symbols" in poetry in the first place. I don't see poetry as a process of encoding ideas in symbols that the reader then must decode. I understand why anyone who is taught that this is what poetry is might grow up to hate poetry.

Maybe that's why I'm not a "real" Lorca scholar. I am not ever confident ever that my particular take on a poetic symbol is the correct one. There are people who are really good at this and come up with convincing, coherent readings. But there are also those who strain credulity.

2 comentarios:

Joseph Duemer dijo...

"The natural object is always the adequate symbol." (Ezra Pound, ABC of Reading)

I hate symbol hunting & try to break my students of the habit while at the same time trying to get them to be sensitive to the possibilities of metaphor with all its ambiguities.

Mark Statman dijo...

One of the things about "symbols" in Lorca is that sometimes they aren't there. In her book "Recuerdos Mios" Isabel Garcia Lorca describes all these things that happened (the cat that ate the frog, etc) while they were all growing up that ended up on the poems and weren't symbolic at all, they were just things that happened.

Of course, she can say that.