A number of years ago, I put together a book-length work of erasure poetry, BAD THINGS HAPPEN. I constructed it as a form of catharsis during a time of difficult and heart-breaking events in my personal life. But now with the world situation as it is, I suspect it might speak new and fresh words into current events. I haven’t reread the book in light of the pandemic, but I may take a few minutes later to see what new connotations emerge.
An erasure is a “found” poem in which the poet works with text from an original work to create something new. An erasure is often created in response to, or in conversation with, the original source text. Through purposeful decision-making, the erasure poet will subvert, challenge, question, or build upon the meaning and themes in the source text. Unlike a blackout poem (which presents the original redacted text with the new poem as a visual art form), an erasure constructs the new work into lines/stanzas, thus creating something separate from the original source text.
BAD THINGS HAPPEN is a book-length collection of erasure poems constructed in response to the book, Lord, Where Are You When Bad Things Happen? by Kay Arthur. Arthur’s book is a daily Bible study examining questions about the role of God in difficult life events.
While creating the works in BAD THINGS HAPPEN, the author sought to take the viewpoint of someone who doesn’t claim the infallibility of the Bible or even necessarily believe in any sort of god. The view is that the reality in life is bad things happen. Truly bad things happen. Even evil things.
The erasure poetry in BAD THINGS HAPPEN doesn’t necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of the poet, but are offered as food for thought. This work is mainly an exercise in self-expression and creative experimental writing.
Sometimes I play around with different ways to present the same words on the page. This is a redo just out of curiosity to see how it works in block format rather than more traditional lines. If you’re interested in seeing the original, you can find it here. I realized I haven’t really shared much here lately, but I have been working on some things, but not ready to show the newest projects yet. So I think I’ll just starting showing some of my “process” of writing the assorted things I’m messing around with these days.
neither god nor muse on a train in a nasty mood coming from the outside from the inside the source is unimportant the poet is the poet is the real thing Yeats is Spicer’s ghost father the poem drives the poet parasite dictating to us (the Martian) Yeats’ wife possessed by spooks “I’m here to give you metaphors”
I’m currently working on an erasure poem of an entire book. Is there such a thing as an epic erasure? That seems to better describe this undertaking. I actually completed the book’s erasure and now I’m working to format and edit it. I’m sort of excited. It’s been quite a project. 🙂
Here’s a brief sample of a small part of one of the poems I found hiding in the text of the book I’ve been erasing. Stayed tuned for more on this project.
UPDATE! The book is now in print! Click on the book cover for details!