Poetry · Reading · Uncategorized · Uni · University · Writing

Deletionism/Erasure Poetry

So, one of the modules I’m on this trimester is called Experimental Practice, and on it we are taught the history of experimental writing and form, the different techniques used, and how to develop our own pieces of experimental, contemporary writing through a range of different creative writing experiments. My course is solely called ‘Creative Writing : Experiment and Innovation’, but this one module I feel has been the only module thus far that has given us the opportunity and taught us to be creative and experimental in our own right, whilst teaching us about writers that have come before us and opened up the field.

One technique that I’ve just learnt about is deletionism (as it’s being called on our course), or erasure poetry, which is where you create a new text from an existing one through the process of erasure. You can create rules to follow when doing so, or just follow your own instincts and see where you take yourself within it. The results are pleasantly surprising, and it’s actually something I’m quite enjoying.
Throughout this module I’ve been wrestling with these techniques and excercises that ask you to use an existing text and apply whatever technique to form your own piece of writing out of it, because there is always the feeling where it doesn’t feel like that piece of writing is your own. And that is something I have really been struggling with, because I don’t like the feeling of something that I’ve worked on not being my own. But that’s just it. Because it is something that you’ve created, albeit from another existing piece of texts, but it is still your own. No one else will have done what you may have chosen to do with a text, and that is what makes it yours. As my lecturer explained it to me, I finally came to terms with it and understood how it was okay, because there was always the feeling of it being plagerism, and we’re taught throughout our life not to plagerise and copy existing work that is not your own, yet now suddenly we are being encouraged to do so! It’s been a weird concept for me haha, but I do get it now and I’m actually really enjoying it and creating my own poems through erasure. I’ve been working on several Christina Rossetti poems, so in the next blog post I’ll put one up.

If you enjoy writing poetry and haven’t given it a go before, give it a whirl and see how you feel. Fly with it. Tell me how you get on!

Happy Saturday!

Flying bird drawing by Linn Warme:


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