Archives for posts with tag: erasure poetry

Self-Portrait of the Artist as a Middle-Aged Man
by Massimo Soranzio

The pity is,
the public will demand
and find
a moral—
or worse.

On the honour of a gentleman,
I will not serve that
which I no longer believe:
not one single
serious line.

I have recorded,
what a man says, sees, thinks—
studied through a microscope in the morning,
repeated through a telescope in the evening.

I will express myself
as wholly as I can,
using for my defense
silence, exile
and cunning.

Neither more,
nor less alone,
not only separate from all
others, but to have
not even one friend.

No drama
behind the historical raving:
they are all there,
all the great talkers,
for the first hunt of the season.

and all the things they forgot,
bringing on the rain—
and we
wanting to go for a stroll.

SOURCE: “James Joyce — A Portrait of the Man Who is, at Present, One of the More Significant Figures in Literature” by Djuna Barnes, Vanity Fair (April 1922).

IMAGE: Novelist James Joyce (1882-1941), drawing by Djuna Barnes, Vanity Fair (April 1922).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I found this interview to a celebrity from the past, James Joyce, by mere chance. Though not one of my favourite authors, Joyce has played an important role in my life, accompanying and inspiring me on several occasions. His answers in this interview, published around the publication, on his 40th birthday, of his masterpiece Ulysses, were poetic per se, so I just selected and reordered his words to produce this sketchy self-portrait of the writer.

Massimo Soranzio1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Massimo Soranzio writes on the northern Adriatic coast of Italy, about 20 miles from Trieste. He teaches English as a foreign language and English literature in a high school, and has been a journalist, a translator, and a freelance lecturer on Modernist literature and literary translation. He posts some of his found and constraint-based poetry on his blog,

by Steve Bogdaniec

I don’t know, Gustavo
I start with blank paper
I’ve tried
to fit a thesis or a plan

why in hell do you want to know
what should be true
they say that when you’re in your forties
you ought to know enough and have enough

do you suppose
what knowledge you have
to have or have not
whether you get it or I get it
is a hell of a lot of difference

Sorry, Gustavo
has to ask these questions
it’s his job
and I’m supposed to answer them

start work
break the back of the job
put the words in
like laying bricks
at it solid
if you speed too much you don’t know
some days a lot, some days a little
getting it all down and then going over it
to straighten things out, to get information

the fight
will have to be fought again
don’t worry
we’ll still have a wonderful time tomorrow

SOURCE: “Ernest Hemingway Talks of Word and War” by Robert Van Gelder, New York Times (August 11, 1940).

NOTE FROM INTERVIEWER: The talk was a mixture of Spanish, French, and English. Each comment that Hemingway made on his writing he prefaced with an explanatory speech to Gustavo Duran, the former pianist and composer, who had developed as one of the most brilliant of the army corps commanders on the Loyalist side of the civil war in Spain.

IMAGE: Ernest Hemingway posing for a dust jacket photo by Lloyd Arnold for the first edition of For Whom the Bell Tolls, Sun Valley Lodge, Idaho, late 1939.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steve Bogdaniec is a Chicago-based writer and teacher, currently teaching at Wright College in Chicago. Steve will write just about anything: he has had poetry and short fiction published in numerous journals, and recently wrote a monthly movie feature covering movie sequels. Follow him on Twitter! Just kidding—he never posts anything there anyway.

by Virginia M Mohlere

If you’re looking for a key –
          the slow burn,
          the long view,
          the endlessly reliable generators
                    of Nature and friendship;
          the image of planetary kin,
          the company of fellow travelers.
Companionship and wonder in the face
          of bitterness and disillusionment:
both are bigger than us,
two influences that never fail
          to buoy and nourish me.

We set out to hope.
We set out to make something.
Our dreams are the place where we can
          that which we never realized we knew.
They support and carry us.
We can fly at the back
          of the formation they form.
That would take some acting out:
          I want you to pull
          those bad thoughts out of your ears –
                    companionship and wonder might win –
          and never listen to No.

SOURCE: “Tilda Swinton Is Not Quite of This World” by Carl Swanson, (April 2014).

PHOTO: Actress Tilda Swinton by Norman Jean Roy, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve been a fan of Tilda Swinton’s work since Orlando – she seems like a delightful mix of Alabaster Space Queen and warm/friendly. I admire her fashion adventures and her willingness to transform her looks drastically for a role (watch Snowpiercer, people, she’s tremendous in it [so is the rest of the cast]). This interview made me stomp around in circles for a bit and make a screechy blog post. Her commentary about being a “cheerleader of artists” didn’t make it into the poem, but it echoes my belief that we should build each other up, never tear one another down. Making art is difficult enough without planting obstacles for ourselves and others. Art lifts up art; love lifts up love.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Virginia M Mohlere writes from Houston, where it is generally 4 inches from the sun. Her poetry has been seen in places like MungBeing, Strange Horizons, Ideomancer, and Mythic Delirium. She blogs extremely sporadically at

by Magdalena Edwards


               resent me for being naked

          be pleased that I’m knocked up

                    pay attention to the performance


Even my own sister treats me worse
than somebody would treat a rat.
She actually likes rats, so worse than that.

                    she used to punch my mother’s stomach

She did not want me born.

                    my upbringing has been very destructive

They’re all Scorpios —
my mother, my father and my sister.


Larry Gagosian lived above us.

                    his hot tub would leak into our apartment

It was the ‘80s.

My father

                    had been in the French Foreign Legion

would go up there with a gaucho knife
and confront him —

“Ahhhhh, get your bath fixed!”


She’s a brilliant actress,
and she’s still getting naked

If I look like that at her age,
I’ll flaunt it


I met Jack at the Roosevelt Hotel
          when I was 19.
Jack kept following me around.
He said to me: “They don’t
make them like you anymore.
I haven’t seen a beautiful girl
like you since 1965.”
I said: “Let’s go make
my boyfriend jealous.”


My lawyer says
I’m not allowed
to talk about the case.

I so wish I could.


Yeah. So I went to his recording studio
and I stood in this corner and I felt him.

What can I say? I felt him touch me.
I mean, come on, he’s a ghost.

I felt his spirit go through me
and give me pleasure.

It was like Elvis was tickling me
with a feather.

SOURCE: Andrew Goldman’s New York Times Magazine interview with Paz de la Huerta (July 17, 2011).

IMAGE: Actress Paz de la Huerta by Christian Oth for the New York Times, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Paz de la Huerta is electric. Her performances both on screen (her role as Lucy Danziger in Boardwalk Empire, among many others) and off (her antics are well documented by the celebrity gossip blogs) communicate sexuality and danger. Not long ago, I was walking down 4th Street [in Los Angeles] at a steady clip when I sensed something unusual. I slowed down, looked up, and there she was in a short black coat over a patterned dress, arm in arm with a girlfriend. I don’t think I saw a ghost! Yes, I was scared, and mesmerized.

Magdalena LARB 16

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Magdalena Edwards is an editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books. Visit her at

Author photo by Christian Thomas, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Contemplating My Golden Years
by Andrea Janelle Dickens

I would love to spin the wheel: to eat
monkey brain, a big durian, and rats (fresher
Tuesday through Friday), or try an extended
stay in a crime novel set next year, fiercely
fiercely undignified, an easy target. I’m not
into sex with a crackhead clown, a monster,
an ebola-infected spider monkey. (They’re not
too good in the sack). I don’t have a retirement
plan. It freaks me out. I’m making it up
as I go along. I contemplate what is a pet
and what is food? A grilled cheese sandwich
served me a steaming load of crap in spite of all
the terrible things I’ve said about the cat and dog.

I have little memory of eating the cobra heart.
I’m still pretty rough: heartbroken and appalled.
I hope to die watching you singing anarchy
from a table top with your shirt wrapped
around your head, with a very small,
very angry and rather athletic oyster.
Like a travelling band given license to kill.

SOURCE: Anthony Bourdain online chat, Washington Post (March 30, 2006).

IMAGE: Celebrity chef and culinary expert Anthony Bourdain.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve always been fascinated with celebrity chefs, especially the polar figures of sophisticated, restrained Nigella Lawson and bad boy Anthony Bourdain. What I found really fascinating as I worked on these poems [find Nigella Lawson poem here] was how obvious it was that the language of Bourdain was all public and external; he lives his life in public. And the language of the interview with Lawson was private, domestic, and polite, even while hinting at darker truths beneath the surface of the words she spoke. I tried to capture these impressions as I worked the found words and phrases into these two poems.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Andrea Janelle Dickens recently moved to the Sonoran Desert, where she lives among the sunshine and saguaro cacti. Her work has appeared in Star 82, cakestreet, Ruminate, Caesura, and The Wayfarer, among others. She teaches at Arizona State University, and when she’s not teaching, she’s backpacking in foreign cities, making pottery in her ceramics studio, or tending hives of bees.

In Which I Contemplate Men And Vegetables
by Andrea Janelle Dickens

The only vegetable men really like
is peas. There’s no turning back:
you will carry around Brussels
sprouts for people who don’t like
Christmas pudding. Most of the other
women in my position distilled something
simple. Something completely different.

My mother was a believer in
the strawberry cheesecake; at the end
of the day the women want to rebel,
be taken into care like cranberries.
They spat it out sort of viciously, sort of
graphically but with more broccoli
and the metallic taste of spinach.

I’m sort of trapped. As long as you
don’t think they’re going to help you,
(as if you wanted the child labor),
the flames get us to stir things, the luck
of being very cosmopolitan, very very
tired. And the only vegetable
men really like looks the same.

SOURCE: Nigella Lawson interview by Becky Anderson, CNN (April 19, 2010).

IMAGE: Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Andrea Janelle Dickens recently moved to the Sonoran Desert, where she lives among the sunshine and saguaro cacti. Her work has appeared in Star 82, cakestreet, Ruminate, Caesura, and The Wayfarer, among others. She teaches at Arizona State University, and when she’s not teaching, she’s backpacking in foreign cities, making pottery in her ceramics studio, or tending hives of bees.

SOURCE: “Keeping Up With Kimye,” by Hamish Bowles, Vogue Magazine (April 2014).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is a found poem, using Kim Kardashian‘s quote alongside the photograph on page 220 (Vogue, April 2014).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen Massey writes in Ottawa, Canada. She has an MA, has published one chapbook, and her work has won local and regional prizes and appeared in a range of literary journals and anthologies. Recent online publication includes, and one of her poems was featured on the Chaudiere Press blog during National Poetry Month 2014.

by Mathias Jansson

First I didn’t know
I’m so honored
So proud
The first I’m the first we’re the first
Dreaming one #1
The biggest dream
I’m so honored
I’m just so honored
I kind of have the biggest one
Like a little accident
That little surprise!
Totally First

SOURCE: “Kim Kardashian breaks silence on Vogue cover,” interview with Seth Meyers (


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mathias Jansson is a Swedish art critic and poet. He has contributed with visual poetry to magazines such as Lex-ICON, Anatematiskpress, Quarter After #4, and Maintenant 8: A Journal of Contemporary Dada. He has also published a chapbook at this is visual poetry and contributed with erasure poetry to anthologies from Silver Birch Press. Visit him at, or his author’s page at

Autographs and Receipts
by Wm. Todd King

Sorry eyes close
on a dark afraid
you wish gone.
Every nightclub
another minutes fifteen
tan spray night
that rejuvenates few.

SOURCE: Kardashian Konfidential, page 136  (St. Martin’s Press, 2010).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Wm. Todd King is a poet and Regulatory Compliance Supervisor living in Kentucky. He is the recent finalist in the Found Poetry Review’s Dog Ear Poetry Contest, and a participant in 2013’s Pulitzer Remix project. His works have appeared in STILL, the Silver Birch Press NOIR Erasure Poetry Anthology, Life’s Vivid Creations, and Found Poetry Review.

Lana Del Rey
by Sonya Gray Redi

umm I wish
I was everything.
I feel magical.
I still feel that way.
I guess I am going in more
of a sardonic narco swing.
People don’t think my
stuff was about free
Love and
life unhinged.
I hope we are growing.
People feeling murky,
dark waiting-
all I know

SOURCE: Lana Del Rey interview in The Guardian by Tim Jonze (June 2014).

IMAGE: Lana Del Rey by Neil Krug, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: : Sonya Gray Redi lives in a small apartment in San Francisco, California. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre and Literature Writing from UC San Diego. Her writing has been featured in Mania Magazine and other publications across the interwebs. She enjoys riding her bike, walking through redwood forests, and watching black and white films.