Two Sessions: July 19 and 20
1:00 to 5:00 pm
Taught by Farid Matuk
Erasure brings with it questions of collaboration. Always the blank spaces we make are shadowed not only by our source text but also by the trace of our own desire to render that source otherwise. While erasure techniques may tend toward writing that is spare, minimal, quiet, let us in this class revel in the noise that ghosts such work, let us be collective, maximally.
We will consider exemplars of contemporary erasure such as Ronald Johnson, Jen Bervin, Janet Holmes, and M’Nbourse Phillips. Guiding us, though, will be two fields of work that do not literally use erasure as such. First, we will look closely at classical haiku, which lean on silences to produce meanings that in fact rush in like veritable epics of sensation and sense. Helping us to foreground the possibilities of “collaboration,” our second guide will be the work of Jack Spicer and his notion of poetry as a set of instructions received from “Martians.”
While the instructor will provide source texts, students are expected to bring source texts that interest them (anything from field guides to dated anatomy textbooks, to self-help, to astrological horoscopes, to sacred texts, to pornographic stories). Students will also be expected to bring at least one original poem not composed by erasure that will itself become a source text for others in class.
Over the course of the weekend, students will produce three to five erasure pieces and receive feedback from peers and instructor on at least two of these.