Blackout poetry, or erasure poetry, is unique in that you are working with a predetermined set of words. You can blackout or erase as much or as little as you like. Form new words and phrases from what exists.
But what does it mean? A recent conversation with creative collaborators posed this question and one suggestion was that blackout poetry was a search for meaning. Firstly as individual; secondly for the audience.
I compose firstly for myself, then for an audience. However the text also exists independent of me as creator.
With that in mind, I took the initial post that sparked this discussion and made three erasure poems. Each time I looked for something different; another angle, a change of perspective.
For these I copied the text into a document and used the highlighter tool. Hence some fragment spaces.
There were a couple of words or phrases I returned to, a focal point or locus for writing but I had to deliberately move away from them to forge something new.
Was I looking for something of myself in the poetry? I am not sure. Sometimes there is an identification with the text. At other times it is an enjoyment of the construction of language. While perhaps it is also a disquieting of the soul and heart when darker ideas and phrases emerge.
I don’t think there is a clear answer to the question. If anything, the new text raises more questions. Questions that may have an answer or questions that may provoke a dialogue.
I’ll leave the answers up to you.
#1 Traces of Light
#2 Stillness and Shenanigans
#3 The Countless Hours