The last year has been difficult for many people. Epidemics, politics, job loss and isolation – most Americans have to find some new coping mechanisms to make it through. Here’s one: erasing poetry.
Creativity can heal in difficult times, but it is not always easy to tap into those creative juices. Sometimes you get overwhelmed and tired of writing or creating. In those times, turning to poetry – a style of poetry in which you write something new using only what you can find in an existing text – can help.
Sometimes when it is difficult to write, that barrier gives you room to start. It’s like a painter working with a limited palette: you have a solid foundation to start your poem, and the challenge of creating something using only what is in front of you. And even if you’re having difficulty writing a traditionally constructed poem, the medium of the poem can give you access to a vocabulary you didn’t need.
Found is to fade between forms of poetry. The author seems to have something new to say in the existing text; In this case, a Times article. Blackout poetry is a style that eliminates the words around a poem that you have found within the text and features both a piece of literature and an image of that literature on a single page.
You might be thinking: Am I really writing a poem if I’m using someone else to start my work? Yes! Writing a well-found poem – and in this case, an outrage – requires the poet to intervene on the source text. This means that your poem will say something different Source text. This will be representative of your voice and your statement.
The rules are quite simple: in an erasure, you can only use the words that appear in the article you choose, and you have to use them in the order they appear. How you erase the words around your poem is up to you. Here’s how to do it.
Choose your content.
How do you delete Do you want to use white-out? A marker? Glitter? Maybe you will try some collages. A Sakura Jolly roll pen was used in the poem above.
Find an article
You can choose an article that gives you strong feelings – happiness, anger or sadness. Or you can choose an article that you cannot relate to at all. Both are wonderful places. Once you have read the article, you can begin to identify words and phrases that you find interesting or that resonate with you, no matter what the context. Try to find at least one interesting or strong word that you can construct a poem.
The poem above was written using an article by Marcus Westberg “Crisp, Quiet and Still: A Wintry Swedish Wonderland,” From the January 10 print edition of The Times. It is important that your voice speaks in your poem, and not that of the original author – a frenzied poem should not summarize the material from which it is composed. It should say something new. So while Mr. Westberg’s article is about the pandemic journey in Sweden, the poem is about the magic of new beginnings.
Make your draft.
Before you go with that sharp or wighted-out, you want to underline the words you want to put with the pencil. You can also make some copies of your article, so that you can practice or experiment with marking the page of the original newspaper that you are using.
When you are ready, erase all the words other than your poem using the medium of your choice.
You have written a poem. And maybe – just maybe – it helps you feel a little less stressed today. Cite your sources, and then go ahead and share your poem with friends. Maybe you find more manic poets in your midst, a small clan of stealth writers with whom you can exchange your creations.