Kathy Acker: Every Book is Dead Until Activated By a Reader

"Every book, remember, is dead until a reader activates it by reading. Every time that you read you are walking among the dead, and, if you are listening, you just might hear prophecies."

Kathy Acker (1947-1997) was an experimental American writer, punk-poet, and post-modernist. She earned the Pushcart Prize in 1979 for her short story "New York City in 1979." Acker's signature style borrowed from beat and countercultural icons such as William Burroughs. Her experimental works were a major influence on 1980s-90s artists such as Lynn Breedlove and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. She died of breast cancer complications at the age of 50.


"Every book, remember, is dead until a reader activates it by reading. Every time that you read you are walking among the dead, and, if you are listening, you just might hear prophecies."

Source: "On Delany the Magician", a foreword to Trouble on Triton (1996) by Samuel R. Delany, and reprinted in Acker's collection Bodies of Work (1996)" (Via WikiQuote)

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