The Author to her book

January 11, 2017 General Studies

The poem “The author to Her Book” by Anne Bradstreet is about a writer’s relationship to his/her pieces. Bradstreet depicts this relationship as extremely complex and ambiguous and describes the author’s discomfiture, especially in relationship to publishing. To the reader it seems as if publishing is a process that’s controlling is out of the writer’s powers.

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Considering that Bradstreet’s poems have been published without her knowledge, this notion is quite understandable.


At the first view, one can immediately see that this is a very personal poem, specified on an individual experience of Bradstreet.

The fact that she is an author writing about an author, also that the poem whose theme is a book is itself part of a book or that looking at an deeper level, Bradstreet while writing the poem is developing a relationship to her piece of writing while she writes about the author’s relationship to his piece of writing is very ironic. This could be carried even further when considering that I- the author of this commentary- am writing about an author writing about an author. The irony is reinforced as the reader finds his own place in the circle of publishing described. The idea of a circle might be the key to the deeper, universal meaning of ” The Author to Her Book”.


The extended metaphor of the poem as the author’s child is carried through most of the poem. This controlling metaphor expresses the ambiguous attitude of the speaker. From the beginning the speaker can easily be identified as the author herself as she addresses her book as “( ) offspring of my feeble brain” (l.1) Not only is the book presented as the author’s child by Bradstreet but she also describes aspects of an author’s relationship to his book being like the complex relationship of a child to its mother.

This can carry several complications within itself: the most important one being, that the Bradstreet specifies the relationship as being the books relationship to its mother rather than parent.


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