A few comments on the reader's role in poetry, from Don Paterson, taken from 'The Book of Shadows,' one of his collections of aphorisms.
"Poetry is a mode of reading, not of writing. A poet is someone skilled in manipulating that innate human capacity to make things sign. They advertise the significance of the form in its shape or speech, build in enough strangeness and intrigue to have the reader read in, enough familiarity to repel them, and calculate enough reward for their effort. But so much poetry now is all advertisement, or all familiarity, or all strangeness, or all calculation."
"The reader may be witness to the exchange but can never participate in it; poetry, in the end, is a private transaction between the author and God. The true poem is firstly a spiritual courtesy, the act of returning a borrowed book."
"We read according to an undeclared handicap system, to the specific needs of the author. We meet the novelists a little way, the poets at least halfway, the translated poets three-quarters of the way; the Postmoderns we pick up at the station in their wheelchairs."