Erasures in La Vague


I work in a library that has been weeding thousands of books (outdated, water damaged, and otherwise in poor condition– it had not been weeded in years and we’re downsizing as our research/space needs change), so my friends and I have been reusing some of the old books for art/poetry projects. Some of the books have become hollow books, illuminated books (a la A Humument), and erased texts (a la Radi Os). I have been working on a series of erasures from a book called Animal Camouflage; the erased series is called Exact Resemblance. A few of these erasures are now up at La Vague Journal thanks to editor Jennifer Pilch.

To make these erasures, I read Animal Camouflage and chose pages I thought would make interesting erasures. I saw the goal of the erasure as to bring out a hidden text inside the scientific language of the original, and some pages seemed too densely scientific to lift out a “ghost” text without it feeling forced.  A few of my friends (Michelle Detorie, Gillian Devereux and Jenna Cardinale) have been working on erasure texts at the same time and we have all been using whiteout instead of black markers or colors. I like the way the final text looks more like my usual poetry when the erased text is white. After whiting out the source text, I scanned the pages and erased the trace of whiteout edges in Photoshop. I adjusted the curves to make the whole page the same color, since the white of the erasure was garish against the yellowing pages. In editing the poems for La Vague, Jennifer used similar photo manipulation to put character back into the pages and make them resemble the aged library source book. 


About Jessica Smith
This entry was posted in Contemporary Poetry, Librarianship, My Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Erasures in La Vague

  1. Pingback: In the Library with the Lead Pipe » Librarian as Poet / Poet as Librarian

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