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>Fun with Intertextuality

>I’m not even completely clear on who the Watchman really is, but this is really fun.

But can I just say how much I have always loathed W. C. W.’s poem about the plums in the icebox? We-coulda-made-pie versus some poet’s fucking sensitivity–is it even a contest?

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. >A favorie saying when I was in grade school: “You have little to do!”

  2. >I’ve always loved that poem, and WCW in general. I used to have a pair of jeans with “The Red Wheelbarrow” written down one leg. But I digress.

    Excellent comic, with so many great references–a real trip.

  3. Teacherninja says:

    >The Watchmen by Alan Moore (same guy who wrote V for Vendetta) is about a bunch of "real" (i.e. morally conflicted) superheros. "Rorschach" is a finger-breaking vigilante much like the satirical version. It's considered by many to be one of the best "graphic novels" around.

  4. Anonymous says:

    >I think Watchmen is the epitome of the Graphic Novel. I really hate it. Really. I’m not saying that it isn’t valid, or art, or literature, or whatever. I’m saying it, and all the work that shares its sensibilities, are entirely not my cup of tea.

    If Theodore Dreiser rewrote Wonder Woman, would you want to read it?

  5. Roger Sutton says:

    >Anon 6:54, that is the best question I’ve been asked this week. But I think my answer is no. If Sarah Waters wanted to give it a whack, now . . . .

  6. >I love this comic. Thanks! I have to share with my teachers with whom I just had a discussion over verse and verse novels. And I LIKE that Plum poem. You cynic!

  7. Roger Sutton says:

    >Nope, I don’t like a poem that extolls the poet while taking food out of somebody’s mouth.

  8. >But the poet’s not really taking your food. It’s like, metaphysical food.

    It would probably do you good to forget the poem and plant your very own plum tree and eat them right off the tree when they’re sunlit and sweet.

    There! Fixed that one!

  9. Roger Sutton says:

    >Perhaps because I first encountered this poem in college, when we kept ourselves very busy demolishing sexism wherever we could find it, I have trouble reading this poem as anything but sensitive-new-age-guy thinking his poem made something superior out of what was going to be in his old lady’s hands only breakfast.

  10. J. L. Bell says:

    >Just in case you need to hold up your head at the right kind of parties, there is no “Watchman.” There aren’t even any “Watchmen” in the Moore/Gibbons graphic novel Watchmen. Rather, it’s an allusion to the old question, “Who watches the watchmen?”—i.e., in a world with superheroes, who makes sure they’re protecting humanity? (In addition, the passage of time on a clock or watch face is one of the recurring motifs of the book.)

  11. >I love this poem and so do my students, and they all consider the speaker a loathsome villain. (For seventh graders, he’s an older sibling rather than a lover, which yields more or less the same reading.) We almost always go on to read the Erica-Lynn Gambino response which everybody finds immensely cheering.

  12. Anonymous says:

    >Lelac — Interesting response. I’ve never been able to separate my response to the speaker from my response to the poem. I still don’t know if I can. Whether the relationship is between lovers, siblings, roommates, coworkers, or whatever, the speaker comes off as someone who believes his/her own cleverness grants carte blanche for whatever he/she wants to do. Who would want to spend time with this person?

  13. >I’m a plum poem hater. Just because something looks appealing dosen’t mean you’re entitled. Probably he went on to–
    “There were three crisp $100 dollar bills in your wallet, and I know you were saving them to pay the heating bills, but they looked so beautiful…”

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