On the Subject of Contradictory

“You have to systematically create confusion, it sets creativity free. Everything that is contradictory creates life”, said Salvador Dalí. In all art this is important. As a poet, I have found that the more contrasting the image, the better the metaphor and better the piece. Art is to imitate reality, and then subject it to the individual artist’s reality as he/she sees fit. Take for example this line from Lorca’s explanation of writing: “…Intelligence is often the enemy of poetry, because it limits too much, and it elevates the poet to a sharp-edged throne where he forgets that ants could eat him or that a great arsenic lobster could fall suddenly on his head…” 

That arsenic lobster is the contrasting of opposites and contradictory images as well as the neglect of intelligence. Art has nothing to do with what one can pontificate. It has everything to do with the overactive emotion and imagination of the artist. When one can subdue reality onto a piece of paper, relate it to the reader, and then project a new possibility (a new reality) this is artistic. It takes a special kind of person to let their imagination run rampant and flow through their paintbrush, pencil, or pen. Its a very vulnerable profession.

As a poet, I have found more and more that a metaphor is only as good as its relation and freshness. Relation as in how the reader can perceive it; freshness as in how recent and new the idea is. Lines that I have never conceived or imagined are what I love to read. This is an artists job: to break the mold of everything before (after learning the ideas that build upon the new) and bend the lines between old thoughts and new pathways to reality.

I will end with an exercise. The following is a Dalí painting on an old story. It is called The Metamorphosis of Narcissus. The exercise is this: take something away from the myriad of ideas and concepts put into this painting. Isolate it. Then write specifically on that idea building new concepts and metaphors that you think are original. Artwork and poetry go hand in hand. As Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”

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