Erasing a French Icon

I’ve recently become interested in trying erasure poetry. I had always thought of it as an esoteric exercise, but after an excellent lecture by a fellow student in my MFA program I decided to give it a go. 
At first, I found myself reading My Antonia and mentally deleting words to highlight Cather’s beautiful phrases, but creating poems from it seemed too large an undertaking. Then I found a copy of Colette’s “for a flower album” I had received as a gift (in lieu of a bouquet to celebrate my chapbook’s publication). Each essay in this collection features a different garden variety and is already lyrical and poetic.
As I erase these essays I’m finding that what I’m doing is exploring my journey as a woman and poet coming into my own. At turns sensual, angry, and contemplative, my voice is coming out with words and phrases I don’t think I would make if I wasn’t forced to choose them. 
This project is an exercise in exploration and I’m falling in love with it. It’s also been a great way to make me write when I feel hopelessly blocked. When the words are already there, the pressure eases. I just have to pick which ones I like best rather than forcing my lexicon into submission.


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