Wikipedia says "Erasure poetry is a form of Found poetry created by erasing words from an existing text in prose or verse and framing the result on the page as a poem. The results can be allowed to stand in situ or they can be arranged into lines and/or stanzas."
I first read about erasure poetry in Poets and Writers Magazine (Jan/Feb 2009). The article cited someone who did an erasure poem using the 9/11 Commission Report!
I wanted to try writing an erasure poem (the form kind of reminds me of visual or concrete poetry, the discipline of my friend Robert), and what better existing text than something from my hero, Jack Kerouac?
I decided to use the last paragraph from On The Road. Below is what the result looks like in situ:
Here is what the result looks like in traditional form:
The old river sense
that all children know
The coming of rivers
knows what's going to happen:
I think that's a pretty damn good poem as a first effort. I may dabble some more with this style.
Try it - it's fun! You could use a policy from work. Or the fine print that comes with a credit card statement. Or language from the No Child Left Behind Act. Or your favorite author's work (as I did).
I'm thinking it would be very beat to use something like credit card policy and create something beautiful and freeing. Paradoxical, n'est-ce pas?
If you write one, please share it with us here at The Daily Beat!