Try-This Tuesday: Write By Erasing

Last week, we created a haiku with a blank page and the nudge to write about a season.  This week, we will create a poem from a page already filled with words.  The idea is to erase (or black out) words so that what’s left over creates a new poem.  Grab your permanent marker and let’s get started!

You can start with a newspaper article, a magazine article, the page of a novel, or even an advertisement flyer.  I find it easier to start with many words so I chose a poem printed in Geist magazine (vol. 17, no. 71, Winter 2008).  The original poem is entitled Telling the Truth and is written by Harold Rhenisch.  Here’s his poem before I blacked out the words.  (You can see I used a pencil to underline key words and phrases that seemed to flow into a new poem.  Or maybe you can’t see it…the resolution is not so good.  Just trust me on that one.)

I didn’t follow any rules; I think creativity flows better without them.  The magazine in which I found this poem actually hosts an annual Erasure Poetry Contest.  If you like this kind of thing, you should consider sending in something.  I’ve been sending out my work a lot in 2012 to various magazines and anthologies; some have been accepted for print, others have not.  The main thing is, I’m writing…a lot.  And that’s what I want to do.  Some very wise writer friends have told me, “You’ll never get published…until you submit.”  Very true in many ways.

So, back on track here with the poem.  Here is what I ended up creating:

And here it is typed out with a new title, Search:

Search

When someone asks you for God,

Give them a sign.

They accept the Truth.

Tell them how it’s all true – those plans.

You have been back and deserve

no less than fine.

Mention my place – those actions

say what you know.

I stand, whispering in your ear,

you know yourself at last,

that Truth.

Give it a try even if you think poetry is not your thing.  Maybe you’re an aspiring photographer or love landscape design.  This type of activity gives your creative right brain a little stretch; it helps you see what’s hidden in a moment or growing amongst something else.  If you give it a try, tell us about your experience here – we’d love to hear it.

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