Absent Things As if They Are Present


A different way of expressing the same idea is to say that

On the eve of his passing, I made a vow to my dad that I would write a book in his honor. I was eighteen and filled with both certainty and sorrow. He was eighty, so drugged up on morphine that I don’t think he comprehended my words.

I was so emotionally drained that I was not able to compose a eulogy for my father nor even a letter to be placed in his coffin.

During that week I was sleepless and despondent, there was a single phrase that kept repeating in my mind: “A blank page is God’s way of saying that it is not easy to be Him”.

Section Two

According to the dictionary, erase is described as “scraping or rubbing out a written or engraved item; to efface, expunge, or wipe away.” If we delve into its Latin origin, it translates to “scrape away”.

These definitions carry a certain connotation of loss and destruction.

It brings to mind events such as Richard Nixon’s audio-tape gaps, Stalin’s photo alterations, the Archimedes Palimpsest, and the incomplete fragments of Sappho – all of which evoke a sense of mortality.

Heidegger used the process of erasure to explore nihilism in an abstract fashion. In a letter written in 1956 to Ernst Junger, Heidegger wrote the term being, but then crossed it out.

He stated that, even though the word was not accurate, it still remained legible due to its necessity.

This erasure, otherwise known as sous rature, displays the presence of a problematic existence, as well as the lack of meaning. By crossing out being, it simultaneously renders it both unreliable and essential.

A Little White Shadow, 2006, by Mary Ruefle is depicted in the image courtesy of Wave Books.

Erasure in literature has a unique meaning. The process of erasure involves creating a new composition out of an existing one, regardless of the source being well-known or obscure, great or terrible. It is the decision of the person performing the erasure that decides.

When Mary Ruefle chose to white out particular words from A Little White Shadow, a lesser-known nineteenth-century book made available “for the Benefit of a Summer Home for Working Girls,” lines of captivating poetry were brought to light.

“It was my duty to keep the piano filled with roses.” Wave Books released a facsimile of her erasure, keeping the look of her diminutive, whited-out edition, under the befitting (and taken) title A Little White Shadow.

When Jen Bervin ghosted select words in Shakespeare’s sonnets, her own free-verse poetry became visible in darker lettering:

My love shall remain as I am now,

Even when hours have drained his blood,

When his face has borne lines and wrinkles,

And when he has advanced in years to age’s steep night;

When all his beauty has been taken away by time,

I now strive to protect him against age’s cruel knife,

So that his memory will never forget

The beauty of my sweet love, though my own is fading away,

And they will live on, and he in them.

From a philosophical standpoint, as Wordsworth puts it, poets are more sensitive to intangible things than other individuals. The more realistic explanation is that it is easier to erase someone else’s work than to create something from scratch.

I’m here to persuade you that erasure is an act of writing, the style of a piece is determined by the writer’s omissions, and authorship is always collective.

Erasing is an action that results in something else taking its place.


In 1966, Tom Phillips stumbled upon a thrift shop in London, where he purchased a three-penny copy of W. H. Mallock’s A Human Document.

As the narrator of the book explains, the journal tells the story of a deceased, possibly Russian woman.

It reads like an ordinary journal, yet there were moments when it resembled a novel and a scrapbook: the woman wrote of herself in the third person, described the innermost thoughts of a man, and included letters and poems from the man.

The narrator says that the journal does not constitute a story, but it can be used to create one. Phillips had been searching for an old book to modify, and he found it – and his creation – at that furniture repository.

The fifth edition of Tom Phillips’s A Humument (2012) will be released by Thames & Hudson and also be available in an app. The image depicted is page 190.

Phillips began by crossing out words he did not want with pen and ink. Then he turned to painting, typing and collaging from other pages of the book over the words. This resulted in a work filled with colors and shapes.

Some pages contained pictures that were related to the remaining text, such as the flag of England, the outline of a moth and a dark rainbow, while others were confusing.

On one page, words such as “the next lips” and “unfastened her lips” were seen emerging from opposite sides of abstract lips. Phillips wanted to emphasize the transformative power of any novel and how material words can be.

His work was given the title “A Humument”, which comes from “Hum” [“an Doc”] “ument”. According to Phillips, the project initially started as a form of play during his work and preoccupations. For more than four decades, he has been erasing “A Human Document”.

Phillips’ A Humument has inspired a number of erasures since its creation, from Ronald Johnson’s Radi Os derived from Paradise Lost to Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes based on Bruno Schulz’s The Street of Crocodiles.

Nonetheless, some critics of these erasures have deemed them plagiarisms of Phillips’ work.

The accusers, according to Thomas De Quincey, are “thousands of feeble writers” with “great memories and no imagination,” and Alfred Lord Tennyson described them as “prosaic” with “no imagination” who rely on stealing ideas instead of creating them.

An Amazon reviewer of A Little White Shadow implied that Ruefle should have acknowledged Phillips as a source, stating: “I see no mention of the great artist, Tom Phillips.

” Another critic accused Foer of plagiarism, claiming that A Humument had already laid the groundwork for Tree of Codes: “More directly, could there be another form of unconscious plagiarism involved?.

” Eventually, Foer did give credit to Phillips in the afterword of Tree of Codes, yet what the plagiarism hunter was questioning is that Phillips’s erasure came first. Let’s go back around a decade before Phillips started erasing.

In 1953, it took Robert Rauschenberg forty rubber erasers and a month to erase a drawing by de Kooning, resulting in his work entitled Erased de Kooning. Rauschenberg declared that he was trying to “purge [him]self of [his] teaching.”

Calvin Tomkins commented on this by noting that the implications of the act was “so blatantly Freudian” and that it seemed like “a symbolic (if good-natured) patricide.” Jasper Johns referred to it as “an additive subtraction.

” Was Phillips conscious of Rauschenberg’s erasure when he created A Humument? Is it potentially an unconscious plagiarism?

Phillips stated that the newspaper-cut-up techniques of William Burroughs strongly affected him, similar to how Burroughs was influenced by Brion Gysin’s. Caleb Whitefoord, however, went unmentioned. Who is this person?

Is it relevant?

Ralph Waldo Emerson asserted that authors do not create their works from nothing. In other words, does not every single book amount to an act of erasure?


This section looks at the fourth point in the discussion.

The notion of an original creator is fundamental to both Anglo-American copyright law and the European droit d’auteur: to be shielded by copyright, a work must demonstrate its “originality.

” William Blackstone stated this when he wrote about literary property in his four-volume treatise Commentaries on the Laws of England.

“A person’s right to dispose of their own original work as they please is evident, and any attempt to change the disposition of it is a violation of that right to property.

” Justice David R. Aston’s ruling in 1769, which stated that no literary works can enter the public domain, further reinforced this idea by emphasizing that a piece of writing is a reflection of its author and should belong solely to them:

“There is no other property more decisively a man’s own, and more impossible to be mistaken for something else, than his literary work.

” Foucault’s essay “What Is an Author?” examines our inclination to view authors as isolated entities, proposing that if we stop looking at authors this way, we may also stop looking at other kinds of people in the same way.

Jen Bervin’s 2004 work Nets contains a sonnet, labeled number 44. Courtesy of Ugly Duckling Presse, an image accompanies the poem.

It is easy to think of an author’s style as a distinct entity, but writing shows that it is actually a combination of other influences. Allen Ginsberg was open about his inspirations, ranging from William Shakespeare to Wavy Gravy.

When he was starting out, he wrote imitations of William Carlos Williams, William Blake, and the seventeenth-century metaphysical poets John Donne and Andrew Marvell.

As he composed Howl, he initially followed Williams’s stepped triadic form, but eventually a different style came through, featuring long, chant-like lines (influenced by Whitman) and creative leaps and unusual syntax (influenced by American modernists like Hart Crane).

The people who tried to have Howl banned for obscenity probably weren’t familiar with Catullus or Rimbaud, two poets whose works Ginsberg read closely.

Ginsberg has demonstrated that, by both taking cues and rebelling against other authors, one can craft their own unique style. Erasure can be seen as a heightened form of writing. Valery once commented:

“We judge an author to be original when we cannot find the sources of their ideas.

What a person does is often a reiteration, refinement, addition to, or simplification of someone else’s work.” Rather than try to hide or deny the inspirations for their works, erasurists acknowledge them and make evident the disorderly process of art-making.

In A Little White Shadow, Mary Ruefle revealed her approach to creativity, publishing a photographic reproduction of her redacted Victorian book.

Her signature style is accentuated in her pared-down and seemingly aloof yet profoundly affective statements, as exemplified in her lines from the book,

“other people read / sonnets / but / my cousin Suvia / never cared for / blood / and in this as in / most things I agreed with her.

” This is similarly echoed in her more recent poem, “White Buttons,” which appears in Poetry magazine, with the lines “I like to read in tree houses / whenever I can which is seldom / and sometimes never.”

Her deceptively straightforward language captures a subtle, heartbreaking sentiment. Even a century-old novel can serve as the basis for modern poetry.

Augustine Birrell, a copyright lawyer, discussed the idea of property in 1899, saying it is not desirable to share it, though the literary art is dependent on communication and the repetition of ideas.

Nevertheless, not all copyright lawyers agree, as the US legal system considers the quoting of a significant portion of a post-1923 work to be copyright infringement.

Though plagiarism is not a criminal or civil statute, some lawyers regard it as a case of unfair competition or infringement of moral rights. Erasures, which are often difficult to recognize from their sources and use public domain works, have not been taken to court.

For example, Jonathan Safran Foer’s publisher contacted the Bruno Schulz estate and received permission without any fees being charged.

However, when Joshua Beckman used Federico Garcia Lorca’s Poet in New York, the American publisher at the time, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, asked Beckman’s then-publisher to stop printing the book.

Beckman and Left Hand Books complied, leaving the erasure effectively erased.

Erasure is unsettling because one author is taking another text and making it their own.

Charles Reade, a nineteenth-century novelist who was known for plagiarism, argued that there is a difference between taking ideas from a homogenous source and from a heterogeneous source.

He claimed that only the former was plagiarism, while the latter was more like jewel-setting. Reade would likely not think erasure is plagiarism because he believed that what makes appropriation successful is how the writer incorporates the material into their own work.

However, plagiarism is stealing someone else’s style and thoughts, while erasure is a stripping away of personal identity. The erasurist can make a work unrecognizable in comparison to the original.


The idea of creating something out of nothing is an inspiring concept, though not necessarily one associated with the Romantic movement.

In 1759, Edward Young published Conjectures on Original Composition, a manifesto for Romantic poetic theory. He argued that originality, “may be said to be of a vegetable nature, rising spontaneously from the vital root of genius and growing, not made.”

On the other hand, he believed that “Imitations” are “manufactured” by art and labor, using pre-existing materials. The nineteenth-century English Romantics, upholding this concept of originality, lauded the hero-artist who creates spontaneously and unbidden.

It is believed.

In his “Essay, Supplementary to the Preface,” Wordsworth asserted that authors should only be indebted to their own creativity and the natural world. Coleridge highly praised Wordsworth’s compositions as “wholly original.

” Shelley wrote in A Defence of Poetry that poets are able to bring forth “innovative thoughts and deeds” which were never previously imagined.

Have the Romantics established originality as an ideal, or have we simplified their complex views into one more compelling narrative?

Wordsworth utilized descriptions from his sister, Dorothy’s diary, when he composed the renowned poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” and even credited its two best lines to his wife, Mary: “They flash upon that inward eye / Which is the bliss of solitude.”

Coleridge interpreted German idealist philosophers, especially Schelling, and put forth their writing as his own in Biographia Literaria. (Those who defend Coleridge state this was unintentional and not deceitful, claiming Coleridge was careless with his note-taking.)

Wordsworth and Coleridge even spawned (with Dorothy’s aid!) plans for what would eventually become Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which he based on a book by an English privateer:

“The bulk of the story was Mr. Coleridge’s invention,” Wordsworth would later state, “but certain elements I myself proposed.”

Shelley’s own quote on originality states that it “arises from within, like the colour of a flower that alters and changes over time”. However, if one were to read his letters chronologically, it is clear that the anxiety to be original was causing him to experience writer’s block.

In 1818, he wrote to William Godwin expressing his inability to come up with something original; the same day he similarly wrote to Thomas Love Peacock.

The year after, he shared with Leigh Hunt that he was translating Latin as he was “totally incapable of original composition”. Two years later, Shelley was driven to envy of Lord Byron’s success and wrote to Peacock that he has “written nothing” and “probably shall write no more”.

Photograph taken of Tree of Codes, a book written by Jonathan Safran Foer in the year 2010, provided by Visual Editions.

In 1820, Shelley reflected on the concept of poetic originality in the preface to Prometheus Unbound, noting that it is a mimetic art that creates by combining and representing existing ideas.

He went on to explain in the preface to The Revolt of Islam that all writers of a given era are subject to a certain influence that cannot be avoided. He did not make an effort to escape this influence.

The English Romantics are perfectly encapsulated in Gentle Reader! by Joshua Beckman, Anthony McCann, and Matthew Rohrer. If you are skeptical about erasure as a literary exercise, then I strongly suggest this book.

Inside you will discover surreal imagery (“if you would knock at my door / you would hear / a bee pray to god and / the rose take apart the horizon”) and simple yet incredibly profound statements.

(“I would write / myself into the university / and be invincible / which was fatiguing”), evidence that erasure is able to reach the level of “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” that Wordsworth described, even though the process is based on prior works.

Its plain gray cover displays nothing but the title.

The authors, listed alphabetically on the spine, act as a reminder that all writing is a team effort; yet, they only cite their sources—like Wordsworth’s “Michael,” Shelley’s “Julian and Maddalo,” and Coleridge’s “This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison”—on the last pages, without specifying which poet made the erasure.

This semi-anonymity undermines the idea of a single author, suggesting that originality breeds originality.

Without a conventional author biography—with awards, publications, degrees, and details on where they teach and live—Gentle Reader! implies that the poem is more important than the poet.

Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads first saw publication in 1798 in an anonymous edition, a decision Coleridge made out of his own insecurity rather than for any idealistic reasons.

Wordsworth’s preface for the 1802 edition explained that he asked Coleridge to contribute poems to the book, believing the two’s styles to be fundamentally in harmony.

Beckman, McCann, and Rohrer’s works, similarly, share a common tendency, but each has a voice that’s distinct. When they collaborate, as they did on Nice Hat. Thanks., they write with a lighter, more playful tone.

Rohrer’s “Childhood Stories” makes remarkable assertions that are made believable by its intimate tone; he expresses his own sophisticated naivete at people’s reluctance to accept the magic of life.

I was taught to suspend the laws of gravity in an auditorium, and the whole group began to float. It was the same place where they held their conferences and demonstrations. Not everyone believed it.

That was the most significant lesson I took away–that a vehicle driven by a canine could travel down a sloping road at twilight, and then fall off a pier into the water and sink. If no one believes in the unbelievable, what’s the point of sharing these amazing stories?

In “Final poem for the gently sifting public begins on the streets…”, Beckman starts by proclaiming their innocence, but then follows up with a sense of guilt.

I strive not to be greedy.

I will comply with instructions.

I will not try to build

a eucalyptus tree

nor swipe words from other poets.

Alas, Peter, I absconded with a tree

and it is now gone, while you remained

at your abode

and I am left without your contact details.

McCann’s lines are notable for their combination of lucidity and obscurity. He reaches this effect by making a declaration in each line, while refraining from punctuation at the end.

I emerged from the past, and my fingers were stained.

My mind shone brightly like a carp, and this was something observable even in photos. Let someone be the one to make sense of it.

Although it is not necessary to know this to understand Gentle Reader!, Rohrer has indicated that the most intimate poem of his can be found in its pages. This is not surprising considering that many believe empathy is the foundation of great art.

Emerson once said that “Every person is connected to the same, and all of the same… What Plato thought, one may think; what a saint has felt, one may feel; whatever has taken place in anyone’s life, one can comprehend.

Whoever has access to this universal mind is part of all that is or can be done, for this is the only and supreme power.”

This is what I love about the genre: the words the poet writes (by eliminating those of others) could be much more pertinent and important than what the poet initially intended to express

. I won’t reveal which poem Rohrer considers his most personal. The fun of Gentle Reader! is not correctly guessing the author of each poem, but rather reading the poems themselves.


The sixth point of discussion is that the process of rewriting the text should be done in such a way that the meaning and context remain the same, while the structure is altered so as to avoid plagiarism.

Erasing authors “surrender” to new concepts, take on the language given to them, and their creative efforts take on a life of their own, full of dynamic visions.

Of Lamb, released in 2019 by McSweeney’s, written by Matthea Harvey and illustrated by Amy Jean Porter, is a great example of these visions. Harvey erased Charles Lamb’s biography into a peculiar retelling of the classic nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb.

” The story follows the ill-fated romance between a temperamental Mary and an enamored Lamb. Told through a series of connected poems by Harvey and paintings by Porter, the words and art support each other like two intertwined trees.

After Mary spurns Lamb, Harvey’s metaphors and the alterations in Lamb’s wool demonstrate his overwhelming sadness: “He could hardly sustain his shadow,” Harvey writes.

“A dreary tide rushed in. Lamb turned to drink.” He is then sent to an insane asylum, where his delusions become reality: “I have sometimes in my dreams imagined myself as King Lamb, Emperor Lamb, higher than which is nothing but the Lamb of God.”

The source of the erasure, David Cecil’s A Portrait of Charles Lamb, is not at all visible in Of Lamb. However, in the afterword, Harvey does give credit to the biography.

She mentions that almost all of the pages contain the words Mary and Lamb, which is because Charles had a sister named Mary. As Harvey deleted parts of the book, a nursery rhyme emerged, along with some dark descriptions of Charles’s life with his sister.

Mary, when she was 31, became mad and killed their mother, wounding their father. After their father died, Charles brought Mary to stay with him, and they lived together until their own deaths.

Even though I knew about the biography beforehand, I still found myself forgetting about it for a long time, enjoying the book for its originality and strangeness. On each re-reading, the biography became less and less relevant. Ultimately, a book should be able to stand on its own, right?

In his afterword, Foer explains his intentions in writing Tree of Codes, a die-cut book created by erasing words from his favorite book, Bruno Schulz’s The Street of Crocodiles. His story focuses on one day instead of skipping through time like the original book.

Foer’s purpose in this exclusion of words is to represent the millions of victims of the War, including Schulz himself, who died in 1941 and whose unpublished works were lost.

The holes in Tree of Codes signify the absence of what was lost, and the words that can be seen through these holes create a poetic, piercing effect. Foer’s words in his afterword summarize the genre of erasure: “The last secret of the tree of codes is that nothing can ever reach a definite conclusion.”

Walter Benjamin’s 1936 essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” puts forward the concept of “aura,” which suggests that authenticity can only be achieved if the original is present.

However, some readers may find works such as Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes, which is printed in Belgium, die-cut in the Netherlands, hand-finished in Belgium, bound in the Netherlands.

And published by Visual Editions, London-based, an inauthentic work as partially of the “original” is present but the entire work is elsewhere.

Each copy of the book, however, is mass-produced but due to the physical removal of certain words, it gives off the impression of being the original.

Ironically, the first English translation of Benjamin’s essay is flawed because of a possibly accidental erasure of twelve words.

The version released by Jonathan Cape in 1970, and later by a branch of HarperCollins, lacks the last two sentences of the original introduction.

These sentences should read, in English: “The concepts which are presented in this theory of art are distinct from those more commonly used; they are of no use to fascism, but are beneficial when formulating revolutionary art demands.”

However, the words purposes of fascism. They are, on the other hand, useful for the are excluded, thus changing the meaning of the sentence to:

“The concepts which are introduced into the theory of art in what follows differ from the more familiar terms in that they are completely useless for the formulation of revolutionary demands in the politics of art.”

One wonders if an error in translation or an incorrect keystroke was the cause; unfortunately, the translator’s name is not mentioned, so the question cannot be asked.


This section examines the procedure for completing a task.

For erasurists, the method employed may be to take a lesser work and, utilizing its contents, form a better book. Ruefle achieved this and the consequence was remarkable. Other erasurists, conversely, select a literary piece they desire to interact with instead of improving

In Tree of Codes, Foer erases Schulz’s words to write, “The tree of codes was better than a paper imitation.” It is not a replication, but an original work that speaks to the “original” without mimicking it.

Thomas Jefferson’s alteration of the Bible is an example of engaging with a book in a way that some may

think is impermissible (or wrong). During his first term as president, he began to take out the supernatural aspects of the Bible (miracles, angels, the prophecy related to Jesus’s birth) and anything he thought was wrongly interpreted.

By using a razor blade and books of the New Testament in four languages (English, French, Greek, and Latin), he was able to construct one single narrative by rearranging fragments and making slight edits, such as taking out the as in the phrase for as in a day.

In 1813, he bound his creation, which he named The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, in Moroccan leather, but never published it. After his death, the Smithsonian acquired it in 1895 for four hundred dollars.

This “wee little book” was featured at the International Cotton Exposition in Atlanta, and was then reproduced and given to new congressmen.

It is now known today as the Jefferson Bible, and is being studied and conserved at the National Museum of American History due to its creative approach to reading the Bible.

The modern author and visual artist Jen Bervin also endeavored to edit a literary work which some may consider to be a transgression: Shakespeare’s sonnets.

She was not trying to perfect the sonnets, but to comprehend them through erasure. When I read Nets, it felt as if my double vision had failed: two poems were shown on each page, with hers overlapping Shakespeare’s, yet both were clearly visible.

The contrasting dark and light print, combined with her anxious tone (“I / use / the whole, and yet am I not”), increased the erasure: the angst of a young poet striving to live up to her illustrious predecessor became a tribute to his inimitability.

Harold Bloom states that “the largest truth of literary influence” is an unavoidable worry, in that Shakespeare can not be forgotten, evaded, or replaced.

Bloom also claims that a poet is always influenced by another poet’s work and tends to create poetry that is different from what already exists. If a poet accepts this idea, they could fall into a state of intense writer’s block, as Shelley did. I find erasures to be interesting because they transform already existing books into something new.

The famous slogan, “Make it new” (translated from Confucius, who got it from Emperor T’ang, who wrote on his bathtub “Every day make it new”), played a role in producing new literary forms.

One of the main concepts of modernism is the importance of ancestors, even though it has been called out for disregarding the past.

In actuality, modernism is about looking back to the past and then reworking it to propel progress. Without tradition, modernism would not be possible. For a writer to be great, they must first be a knowledgeable reader.

Bloom’s idea is that young authors can only achieve their own “clear imaginative space” through reinterpreting the old masters. Erasurists are able to find their own imaginative space by reading with creativity.

Srikanth Reddy is a very imaginative reader of the genre. His work, Voyager, is both conceptually interesting and written with exceptional skill.

To emphasize, the writing is quite remarkable.

An example of this is in the following passage: “I recall, as a child, spelling out the word world as if I was unlocking a secret realm inside me, a place with mountains near a faint, delicate ocean and the shoreline extending to the south as the night curtains descended.”

You may think that creating a work of art such as Voyager is an easy task, but Reddy ensured it took him seven long years. When I tell you his approach and the rationale behind it, you will have a better understanding of why.

The title of Voyager is a reference to the spacecraft, launched in the year of 1977, the same year that Reddy was born.

Attached to the side of the spacecraft was a golden record, which had a message from Kurt Waldheim, the then Secretary General of the United Nations: “We embark on this mission into the unknown parts of the universe with the hope to find peace and friendship, and to share our knowledge with others if we are called to do so

. We are aware that our planet and its inhabitants are merely a minuscule part of the colossal universe that surrounds us, and it is with humility and anticipation that we make this journey.”

Eight years after his writings were dispatched to space, allegations emerged claiming that Waldheim had been a member of the Nazi SS.

He professed his innocence but confessed that as a junior military personnel, with no authority, he was informed of the German retaliations against the partisans: “Yes, I knew. I was appalled.

However, what could I do? It was either to keep on serving or be put to death.

” Taking this silence into consideration, Reddy deleted Waldheim’s chronicle, In the Eye of the Storm, which, incredibly, never discusses the controversy concerning his war years: the book itself is a type of censorship.

By crossing out passages, words, and sometimes whole paragraphs of Waldheim’s memoir and preserving the remaining ones in the same order, Reddy had the text erased three times to correspond to each section of Voyager.

The first section conveys the idea of silence and complicity held within us through succinct poetic lines: “The silent alone lie united,” Reddy wrote.

The second section, in the form of prose poems, reflects on the composition of Voyager and Reddy’s own silence and complicity as an anti-war scholar:

“As I write these lines, people with pictures of fighters who have perished in combat march through New York’s congested streets.

driven by the spirit of the occasion, while I, sitting in my second-floor office connected to multiple wires, try to control a multitude of extreme emotions.”

In the third part, Waldheim speaks through poetry which takes the place of Reddy’s omissions in the autobiography: “I was presented with a globe, / feeling an immense revolution / –an incredible revolution that I could hardly believe– / my life appeared so small in comparison.”

Throughout his life, Waldheim was met with both admiration and condemnation.

Pope John Paul II presented him with a papal knightly order; however, the U.S. government banned him. Reddy does not pass judgement, instead referring to the concept of alter ego. as a ‘failed idea’ in the book.

In The Ms of My Kin, Janet Holmes employed the technique of erasure to create a political book. She took the poems of Emily Dickinson, written during the Civil War, and reworked them to reflect the Iraq War.

Holmes declared that she did this with a great admiration for Dickinson and her work. She wished for readers to compare the original and the erasure, noting that Dickinson’s poems already had a remarkable brevity.

For example, Holmes’ erasure of “the feeling / Yesterday / Of Ground / letting go–” alludes to the events of 9/11. The capitalization of the word “Ground” heightens the effect. This is what makes the book so daring.

The author of My Emily Dickinson, Susan Howe, is a devotee of Dickinson’s works and an erasurist. In her recent collection, That This, Howe begins with an essay that utilizes erasure to remove select memories of her late husband.

She asks if it is possible for a trace of something to become the same something it is tracing and remain as real and secure as ever.

For the second section of That This, Howe used scissors, tape, and a copy machine to collage an eighteenth-century woman’s diary, noting that even the “invisible” scotch tape makes traces on the paper when it is run through the copier. Howe demonstrates that the most effective absence is visual.


In this section, it is discussed how changing the structure of a text can help reduce the amount of plagiarism.

By altering the way the words are presented, it can be possible to maintain the same context and semantic meaning of the text whilst avoiding any potential infringement of copyright.

After the passing of my father, his body was taken away from our residence by some people. The bed was still there.

The hospice had lent him the bed to take his last breaths in. My final memories of him were held within the frame of that bed. One night I stood in the entrance of his room and dreamt of him still alive.

Seven days after, a new group of people came and took away the bed where he spent his final days away from our house. I was uncertain which of the two left me with a feeling of greater vacuity – the gap in the bed, or the unoccupied chamber.

I endeavored to persuade you that “erasing is equal to composing,” but more significantly I long to bring back to mind my father’s nonexistence. He is the driving force behind much of my work, including this one.

Nine years ago, I promised him a book yet to be completed. As a tribute to him, I want to fill the blank page with something that acknowledges the sense of loss. Erasure seems like a fitting way to memorialize my father, by referring to him while simultaneously emphasizing his absence. Through this form of writing, I am able to convey my grief and demonstrate the purpose of words.

Some Other Possibilities

The utilization of technology within the classroom has become increasingly commonplace, allowing teachers the ability to enhance their teaching methods and students the opportunity to learn in more innovative ways.

Technology has become incorporated into learning sessions, creating a more stimulating educational atmosphere to help students be more successful.


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