Phases of erasure

My first experiment with writing erasure poetry happened last October at the NorthWords altered pages workshop I wrote about here. Jess from Terrace Public Library handed out excerpts from Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed and invited us to either black out words with a Sharpie or circle words to create a poem. I circled.


As always with this type of exercise, it was incredible to me how each of us created something so different. My poem had a distinctly cynical flavour:

twisted bastard,
he’d trusted

too painful still

so they kept
the most inventive
inspired the best

understood nothing

I really enjoyed creating a poem this way, and I’ve been meaning to try it again, but I haven’t yet. Some people (hello, Leona) might call this procrastination. I prefer to think of it like Einstein did (as explained here by Merilyn Simonds—thanks to Carin Makuz at Matilda Magtree for pointing me to this post): gathering information while being alert to new relationships.

When my daily poem arrived this morning, I immediately recognized a gold standard of erasure poetry: Phases of Erasure: A Soldier’s Journey, by Bill Glose. Please take a look and then tell me—is that not amazing?

Now that I’ve gathered information on how I want to write erasure poetry, all that’s left to do is … write it!

Stay tuned!

If you feel inspired, try it yourself and share the results with us.


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