Revolution

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Image: side by side photographs of the Editorial from Overland magazine, Issue 228, Spring 2017. The photograph on the left is unmarked. The photograph on the right has the bulk of the text blacked out.

[Text from blacked out image reads:

The will of workers, peasants and disenfranchised overflowing,

Women’s lives document the revolution.

From the factories, unstoppable, they shout for bread,

for an end to war,

An end to monarchy.

Emancipatory ripples cannot be stilled.

2017 led to nightmares, or conspiracy theories that shaped human rights.

How will this world celebrate us?]


I’m trying my hand at an erasure poem this week (they’re much harder than they look) for YeahWrite’s #352 nonfiction grid. Click the badge to take you to the grid. Read, comment, and vote for your favourite while you’re there!

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24 thoughts on “Revolution

  1. The trouble I’m having with my erasure poem is having enough pronouns and repeating words to say something coherent. I think you were smart to pick an editorial; they are concise and laser-focused. I picked a page from a fiction book, so…not so much.

    • Yes! You’re right. The text you start with makes all the difference. I have several (oh, so many) scrunched up attempts at erasure poems from texts taken from fiction. I just couldn’t make them work.

  2. Man, the “Women’s lives…” line just hits me like a ton of bricks.
    I’ve never written an erasure piece before and it was incredibly hard for me to tell a whole story. You really did it well. Nice work!

    • Thank you so much. I hear you on how hard it was. I went through so many different source texts before this one finally worked. 2017 really felt like the year The Handmaid’s Tale became too close to reality 😦

  3. This reads so well! The more I read erasure poems on the grid, the more I’m convinced of how tough it must be to put together perfectly convincing verses by striking out the right text in the original. Lovely!

    • Thanks so much, Uma! I’m so glad this poem worked. It was so fun to do, but yes erasure poems require time and attention in a unique way. Possibly because you’re working with someone else’s words to start with, and trying to impose your own ideas/themes/perspective over them. I really hope you’ll give them a go sometime this month. I’m trying to write more poetry this year, and this felt like a good way to start.

  4. Wow. This is POWERFUL! I truly enjoyed what you did here. You made it read effortlessly. Fab, fab, fab! Another, please… 😉

    • Thanks, D-L! I’m so encouraged by all the lovely comments and the fun I had trying to whittle words into a poem, that I’m definitely doing another.

  5. This piece felt like a march. I could almost hear music in the background. I love how you were able to take someone else’s words and make them your own in such a specific way.

    • Katie, that’s high praise! Thank you. You make the work that goes into erasure poems look effortless, so I’m honoured by your words.

  6. “2017 led to nightmares” is so good. I also love the last line, particularly how spaced out it is – it’s interesting to see how the black space affects reading speed, and in that case it adds a lot of emphasis.

    • It’s a little too close to the reality, no? I love that you’re looking at black space as part of the poem too. You’re right, of course, those spaces hold meaning and significance.

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