Erasure Poetry as E-Literature

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24.05.2021 to 25.05.2021
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Erasure is a powerful technique that allows contemporary creative writers, visual artists, and political activists to reveal underlying patterns within extant narratives. Perhaps because of its imbrication with book arts and other tactile forms, erasure poetry is relatively unexplored in the domain of e-literature. However, educational platforms like Wave Books’ interactive erasure poetry website, as well as recent artistic projects such as Amaranth Borsuk, Jesper Juul, and Nick Montfort’s web browser extension The Deletionist, Jacob Harris’s Times Haiku, and my own participatory platform The Infinite Woman demonstrate some of the possibilities for making and reading erasure poetry in a digital context. In this one-hour hands-on workshop, I’ll briefly introduce the form and technique of erasure in contemporary creative writing, looking at some physical examples (like Lauren Russell’s chalk erasure of Descent) in addition to the digital examples mentioned above.

We’ll discuss the aesthetic and political choices in handcrafted and computationally generated erasure poems; consider erasure’s overlap with and distinction from other approaches like remix, appropriation, and conceptualism; and explore how erasure allows writers and artists to stretch and innovate poetic technique. Then, I’ll introduce a series of hands-on exercises designed to get participants quickly making their own physical and digital erasures. Participants will experiment with user-friendly tools to make their own erasure poems on a variety of platforms. Participants will need to have access to a web browser (Chrome or Firefox) and a word processor, as well as a design program. I’ll be using the free, user-friendly, online platform Canva in lieu of an Adobe product; if participants do not already have a design program, they should sign up for a free Canva account before the workshop ( They will also need paper, scissors, pens or markers, found physical text (like a newspaper or electrical bill), and found digital text (like a speech, blog post, or literary passage).

Record posted by: 
Milosz Waskiewicz
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