Archive for April 21st, 2012

April 21, 2012

Erasure

I’ve recently had a couple of poems appear at Eunoia Review.  “In Captivity, by the Streams of Babylon” is a reprint of a piece that was exhibited at Things Disappear in Shanghai in 2011.  “Random Access Memory” is published at Eunoia Review for the first time.

Both of these poems are in a form I call “erasure,” for reasons that will be clear when you have a look at them.  (Or, if it isn’t immediately clear, then highlight the text at those sites and you’ll see how the form works.)  I like how the form says something by taking away, how it speaks through the negative spaces.

I came to the form via Edwin Morgan, one of my favorite poets.  I don’t know that he ever referred to it as “erasure,” but it is what I call it.  His poem “Message Clear” is one that just floored me when I first read it.  He was not the only (nor the first) poet to write using this technique, but that particular piece made an especially deep impression on me, and it was the one that compelled me to experiment with the form myself.

I’ve experimented with erasure on several occasions, with varying degrees of success.  What I love most about it is the way it forces you to discover poetry in words not (at first) your own.  In doing so, it provides you with the opportunity to find yourself in the words of others in a unique way.

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