Taking Words Out of the World

Poems have been shy with me lately, so I’m thankful for the Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer newsletter that came in the mail the other day. For some reason, I decided not to toss it out with the junk mail, and while eating dinner one night, I found myself making erasure poems. Here’s a favorite that came from an ice cream advertisement:

A Real Dream Erasure Poem by Andrea Beltran

Mary Ruefle’s written a mind-blowing essay (I’m not exaggerating here) “On Erasure” over at Quarter After Eight.

You know how when you go into the wilderness you are expected to bring out your trash, leaving nothing behind? I spent the first half of my life leaving words in the world, and will spend the last half taking them out! After all, when they asked Neil Armstrong how he felt about his footsteps being left on the moon, he said he’d like to go back up and erase them.

After reading her essay, my erasure work seems petty, but we all have to start somewhere in our learning process, no?

“Creativity is subtraction.” – a newspaper blackout poem by Austin Kleon.

What’s inspired you lately?

12 thoughts on “Taking Words Out of the World

  1. Andrea, I think of you as my virtual Poet Laureate, always sparking a burst of creativity my way. You’re passion for poetry and writing spreads to others, only with the best intentions of rousing others to join in your love for words!

    The quote you included is fantastic – interesting how we are so eager to fill this world with our words, but as Mary so wonderfully states, perhaps we too will erase many of our words as we age, just as she has. I very much enjoyed reading her piece, On Erasure (thanks for the link), and giggled at your originality in creating your own from the Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer. You show me, once again, that poetry is everywhere. I look forward to trying my own bit of erasure.

    Answering your question…lately, I’ve been inspired to play with the magnetic poetry on my refrigerator (since the kitchen is the part of the house I tend to gravitate towards these days at twenty-two weeks pregnant).

    One I wrote the other day that my husband doesn’t want me to take off the fridge just yet:


    Hope my silly comment made you smile, as your great post did to me.

    • Thanks for your sweet comment, Jessica. I think you should keep that poem up on the fridge permanently as its meaning is sure to evolve in the not-too-distant future. 😉 Thanks for sharing.

  2. Being the complete novice and slacker poet that I am, you know I’m all over this. Now where’s that Fearless Flyer I saw buried on the dining table the other day?? 🙂

  3. Oh, and if you haven’t seen the altered book referred to in the Mary Ruefle link above, A Humument by Tom Phillips, you owe it to yourself to track it down. With any luck, your library with have it. It’s an awe inspiring work of art – and erasure.

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