Friday, January 05, 2007

Why read books?

Really, the question should not use the word "books" which doesn't tell us much about the contents of these books. We should ask: why read poetry, why read fiction, why read memoir? The answer varies, of course. At a university such as Oregon State, the answer might be "because it's assigned, because it will be on the test." But of course we read for pleasure, for guidance, for life. But this reaction I see as a kind of reader response reaction, for which see Wikipedia and Barbara F. McManus who of course refers to the major theorist of reader-response, Louise Rosenblatt -and provides this link to an interesting article:

"The Significance of Louise Rosenblatt on the Field of Teaching Literature "

by Gladdys Westbrook Church from Inquiry, Volume 1, Number 1, Spring 1997, 71-77 © Copyright 1997 Virginia Community College System

Reader response approach is a rebuttal to the notion of affective fallacy. And so, now we have the National Association of Poetry Therapy (which includes bibliotherapy). When McManus states that"according to Louise Rosenblatt, a poem is "what the reader lives through under the guidance of the text," this relates directly to NAPT. NAPT will conference in Portland OR in April, during National Poetry Month (of course) with Oregon's new Poet Laureate Lawson Inada and will feature a presentation on bibliotherapy by my friend and OSU colleague Paula McMillen: Pre Conference Session II Thursday, April 19, from 12:00 - 2:30 PM
The Bibliotherapy Education Project: Collaborating to Build Skills and Share Resources beyond the University Collaboratively teaching graduate counseling students how to evaluate books for potential therapeutic uses has created this inter-disciplinary project that provides a database of evaluated children’s books, a focus for continuing scholarship and Bibliotherapy resources for multiple audiences. Discover how you can use the Bibliotherapy Education Project for yourself.
Presenters: Paula McMillen, Ph.D., Assoc. Professor, Oregon State University Libraries, prepared for her work in research and teaching in the area of bibliotherapy through her former work as a psychologist and her current career as a librarian prepared her well for. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson, Ed.D., Assoc. Professor, Teacher and Counselor Education, Oregon State University, has broad-ranging experience that includes nursing, literacy and study skills, and counseling with children and families. Both have been faculty members at Oregon State University since 1999.
My friend and fellow poet, poetry therapist, and instructor/counselor at Rogue Community College will of course attend after organizing the previous week the April conference of the Oregon State Poetry Association (OSPA) in Ashland, also featuring Inada. A busy month!


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