Erasure Poetics

Amaranth Borsuk


Tom Phillips: A Humument

Whispering Galleries

Amaranth Borsuk & Brad Bouse


as we know

Amaranth Borsuk & Andy Fitch

The Deletionist

Artisic techniques


  • Pen or marker: scratch out / draw over words 
  • Paint, white out
  • Stickers

  • Crayon, charcoal, cray-pas, watercolor

  • Scissors/ x-acto knife

  • Collage

  • Erase or blackout

  • Highlighter

  • Is there some relationship between the artistic technique and your content?

Ronald Johnson: Radi Os

Jen Bervin's Nets

Jen Bervin: The Desert

mary Ruefle: A Little White shadow

Jonathan Safran Foer:  Tree of Codes

Jordan Abel: The Place of Scraps

Jordan Abel: The Place of Scraps

travis macdonald: The o mission repo

yedda morrison: darkness

doris cross: embassador 2

potential approaches

  • Find a voice within the page—a new and different speaker—an "I."
  • Find yourself within the text and use these words to say something personal.
  • Subvert the original's intent.
  • Say something pithy.
  • Look for a single crystalline image or juxtapose two images to create a haiku.
  • Read down the margin or look for "stacks" of words.
  • Use a poetic technique like assonance or alliteration to create a chain of sounds.

suggested techniques

  • Start with a pencil.
  • Read or skim the page and underline lightly words that leap out at you for whatever reason. 
  • Read your underlined words. Where might they be going. Is there a tone they create? An image? Is there something you want them to say?
  • Look for other words you can add to make meaning.

  • Doesn't have to be grammatically correct, and you don't have to use whole words or even English words.

  • Now you get to decide what the poem is. Keep only those words that let you say what you want to say (or what the page seems to want to say).

additional resources

as we know

Erasure Poetics

By Amaranth Borsuk