SHARKPACK Poetry Review

An imprint of FATHOMBOOKS.

Writerly Silence & the Reader

Silence is the void in which the listener expects. 

A void is complete—the space around the listener’s expectation is full with their imagination. A man who sits in recursive silence has the exact answer to all the questions he can ask himself. The man who answers the woman with silence gives her the very answer she expected.

Sometimes it is unnerving, but silence is true.

What does silence lend writing?

A reader (I called her ‘user’ first—how deep the digital burrows into me!) finishes a text and has the silence after to achieve balance with what he’s read.

That balance is an understanding, a calming, an answering, a yinning, yo, to the artist’s black-letter yang.

But during the reading, is a reader ever in silence? Ignoring worldly noise, I mean.

In a certain light, our effort as writer is to shape, form, and direct the thoughts of a reader. The creation of silence would be one comparable to shooting out our knees Ender’s Game-style, where, for better effect, we numb our connection to the reader.

One way is to make a statement that twists and dumps a reader off the page to stare at their scenery, puzzled. But that can’t happen every line, else there’s no connection.

So how do we keep silence and the reader on the page? White space at chapter’s end? white space at paragraph break? is that all?

I thought writing in a foreign language might be some measure of resolution, but it negates my proposal of ‘no effort to understand’ so how, how can we ever be silent when writing and if we can’t, then how can we ever be exactly what our reader needs?

One response to “Writerly Silence & the Reader”

  1. Perhaps this is an obvious question, but why ought a writer be concerned with being ‘what a reader needs’?

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: