Erasure Poetry: Writing at the Airport

Usually when I travel, I take a journal with me in the hopes of doing some writing. Unfortunately, my optimistic thinking that “Well, I’ll be sitting for awhile, I’m bound to write,” results in me listening to music the entire time and dozing off with my head on a window/bench/bookbag/some random object. However, the hours I would be traveling from Boston to England (with a 9 hour layover in Iceland) made me think that I would actually write – and I did.

After many failed attempts at napping in the Reykjavik International Airport (Iceland), I groggily sat up and decided to be productive. The airport was quiet, as there were literally eight people on the floor with me, and the natural light coming in from the windows from where I was sitting made it not feel like I was trapped in an airport. I opened my laptop and looked up passages on the Gutenberg Project in order to write some erasure poetry.

If you’ve never heard of the Gutenberg Project, it is a website that offers free e-books in different formats, such as HTML and Kindle.

I – and I take full responsibility for my lack of knowledge – had never heard of this website until I took a poetry course.

My professor explained that the website, although designed to provide people with free reading material, could also be used for poetry writing. She demonstrated how she would find HTML passages of books, copy/paste the passages onto a Word document, and then change the words she erased to white.

I really enjoy this method of erasure because of the freedom it gives you when you are writing. I am able to undo mistakes (of which I make a lot of for getting carried away with erasing), as well as add words I had previously deleted. This is not possible or is very hard when erasing with a pen and paper. I also love the fact that I can make multiple poems from the same text and see how one piece of writing can create multiple meanings if I use the text on various days or focus on different aspects when erasing.

After erasing for almost an hour from a book titled The Ghost of Mystery Airport by Van Powell and my laptop on the brink of death (2%), I felt relieved that I had begun my trip, which was meant to give me time to write, with some writing.

The view from where I was sitting at the airport.
The view from where I was sitting at the airport.
The text I used for erasure poetry at the airport.
The text I used for erasure poetry at the airport.

One comment on “Erasure Poetry: Writing at the Airport

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