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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Everyone is Thinking About Metaphors

It seems everyone is thinking about metaphors these days. My book writing friend Caroline Seebohm was visiting last week when the metaphor discussion began and made many contributions to my "metaphor posts." Today she sent an article by David Brooks Poetry for Everyday Life. I urge you to read the entire article. It will take from 3 to 5 minutes. But if you don't read the entire article, you should at least read a few of his reasons for believing that metaphors are important:
... being aware of metaphors reminds you of the central role that poetic skills play in our thought. If much of our thinking is shaped and driven by metaphor, then the skilled thinker will be able to recognize patterns, blend patterns, apprehend the relationships and pursue unexpected likenesses.

Even the hardest of the sciences depend on a foundation of metaphors. To be aware of metaphors is to be humbled by the complexity of the world, to realize that deep in the undercurrents of thought there are thousands of lenses popping up between us and the world, and that we’re surrounded at all times by what Steven Pinker of Harvard once called “pedestrian poetry.” 

From David Brooks,Poetry for Everyday Life, an op-ed appearing on April 12, 2011, page A25 of the New York Times (New York edition).


  1. I think I'll take you up,on those 3 to 5 minutes. I need all the help I can get.

  2. I'm with Woodie! I need all the help I can get too. So, I'll be reading the article.

  3. I m with them the more help the better.

  4. "Where to start?
    Everything cracks and shakes,
    The air trembles with similes,
    No one world's better than another;
    the earth moans with metaphors."
    - Osip Mandelstam

    Also an interesting link I found: Life Metaphor List

  5. I was very interested in the idea that metaphors are used to compensate for our lack of deep abstract and spiritual thinking. I never thought about it that way before. It's like metaphors help us explain a very complex term or thought in a brief, relative way so we can understand it better in a shorter amount of time with less explanation from the speaker or writer. I can see a relation between a metaphor and one of my favorite writing styles, the parable. Both writing styles allow for more interpretation by the reader, leading us to more creative thinking.

  6. I was just looking at the New York Times' website and I found another article on metaphors. Everyone seems to be talking about them. Here is a link to the article.

  7. Dear EDM 310,

    This is Iman and Amitai from Mrs. Yollis' class. We are third graders in the same class as Miriam!

    The idea of having a blog is so great because you can build friendships with people over time! For example, we have blogging friends in Australia, Connecticut, and New Zealand!

    If you scout around in our blog's archive try to find the post with our video called "Blogging is Learning." It is a great way to figure out some of the qualities of blogging. Instead of looking through the archive, there is a search engine in the sidebar that you can search the whole blog!

    We have some tips and recommendations!

    1. Never put too much personal information on the Internet.

    2. Always stay on topic when responding to a comment!

    3. Whatever you put on Internet never goes away! It is called your digital footprint!

    Iman and Amitai
    (Mrs. Yollis' class)

  8. Michelle - Great article/lesson plan on metaphors (see Michelle's comment above. Thanks!