This article seeks to consider the relation between intertextuality and poetry through James Reeves’ verses for children. By examining all his poems intended to children, this study demonstrates that Reeves constitutes with his readers a peculiar as well as an interactive relationship, which may be detected mainly in the light of the dynamic model of intertextuality as it has been refined by certain reader-response theorists. What becomes apparent then is that the way Reeves employs intertextual associations in his verses is symptomatic of his attitude towards the literary experience. The child-reader who comes across Reeves’ poetry not only activates the relevant texts via a process of experiencing the very essence of poetry itself, but additionally stimulates his/her own response. Reeves tries to develop the ability of his reader to extend his/her imagination and to widen the day-to-day feelings through the way he invites his child-reader into the literary experience. By transforming his material into unusual arrangements, he demands his/her reader to discover unknown or incomprehensible associations, in order to develop the meaning of the poetic text, to decode textual consequence, and, finally, to experience textuality in the perspective of intertextuality.
Key words: James Reeves, poetry for children, verses, intertextuality, reader-response theory.
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