the diverse world of contemporary American poetry with readings by poets, interviews with critics, and short poetry documentaries. Nothing is off limits, and nobody is taken too seriously.Last week's audio was "Poetry Written with an Eraser."
This was my first exposure to erasure poems. You take an existing work of poetry or fiction, or I suppose anything at all, and erase (or white out) sections of it to come up with something that becomes a poem on its own.
The part of the process that most puzzled me was how the person doing the erasing decided upon guidelines for removing the words? Yetta Morrison took Joseph Conrad's fictional Heart of Darkness and "excised all things human." She left only references to nature.
I thought I'd try an erasure poem myself, so taking an old anthology, I randomly opened the book and found Walt Whitman's "Miracles"
Why, who makes much of a miracle?I decided to use Morrison's guidelines and take out anything that had to do with humans, I would leave in words or phrases about nature. I would also take out the punctuation.
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.
To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.
To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim--the rocks--the motion of the waves--the
ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?
I rearranged the lines a little, and retitled it, "Miracles."
along the beach the edge of the water
trees in the woods
honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer
animals feeding in the fields
birds insects in the air
the sundown stars shining so quiet
the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring
every hour of the light and dark
the surface of the earth
Every foot of the interior
The fishes that swim the rocks the motion of the waves
MIRACLESIt was a fun exercise!
The sky along the beach.
The edge of the water.
Trees in the woods at night.
Honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer.
Animals feeding in the fields.
Insects in the air.
The sundown stars shining so quiet and bright.
The exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring.
Every hour of the light, and dark.
The surface of the earth.
Every foot of the interior.
The fishes that swim.
The motion of the waves.
Check out the Poetry Friday Round-Up at Picture Book of the Day.