Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

Poetry Ring

Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

Poetry Ring

Article excerpt

Think of general semantics, and in all likelihood the first thing to come to mind will be Alfred Korzybski's famous aphorism, the map is not the territory. The map is a metaphor, of course, for words, symbols, and the entire process of abstracting, while territory stands in for things and events, otherwise known as reality. As human beings, we create maps based on our experiences, maps made out of words, images, and other types of symbolic form. We are guided by the maps we make, so much so that we take them for granted and forget that they are only maps of our own devising and nothing more, that they are necessarily subjective and inevitably inaccurate in some way, most definitely incomplete, and almost certainly out of date.

Poetry too is a map of sorts, and in its ancient mnemonic function, could serve as a memorable means of recalling a set of verbal directions. Modern poets more typically use their art to make maps of the inner world of thought, sensation, and emotion. The tension between the intensional orientation of poetry and the extensional orientation of mapmaking also makes for interesting effects. …

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