Saturday, February 29, 2020

Rub Out Erasure

Erasure (or blackout) poetry as a style bores me. Erasure poetry consists of taking a text and selectively erasing words; instead of writing a new text, what’s left of the original becomes the poem. (The image accompanying this post gives an example of erasure. More on the image later.) 

Advocates and practitioners say erasure is not, but it is: censorship, under a guise such as appropriation.

Others justify erasure for being used politically, but the authorities justify erasure, too; they call it redaction. Blacking out parts of the Mueller report and calling it art? I think not, Cisco. 

BigPo praises some poet for “creating striking ‘erasure poems’ out of the apologies of Louis C.K., Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and others and posting them on her Instagram.” Striking? Actually, valorizing and glamorizing redaction is more like it, while claiming to be a voice for the voiceless or some crap like that (all on “her” Instagram!). 

Search for erasure poems on poets dot org. Consider the image used for this post is a snap of a magazine advert from 1998, erasure promoting a major capitalist corporation.

I'm not a fan of erasure.

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