No Replacement

No one can read a book for you

Here’s a drawing in response to Louise M. Rosenblatt’s chapter “The Text: Openness and Constraint” in The Reader, The Text, The Poem. Her desire here is to discuss how the text contributes to the reading relationship: “The text of a poem may indeed offer us a ‘closed form’ within which to organize a work–yet at the same time, it is open to the contribution of the reader in his relationships to his own world and the world of the author” (88).

But what struck me most was her insistence on the power (and responsibility) of the reader: “Someone else can read the newspaper or a scientific text for you and paraphrase it quite acceptably.  But no one can read a poem for you.  Accepting an account of someone else’s reading or experience of a poem is analogous to seeking nourishment through having someone else eat your dinner for you and recite the menu” (86).  Love that.  Maybe the reader in the drawing should be saying, “Get your own damn book!”