The Simple Essentials Blank space and Erasure poetry

When I was first assigned The Unified Field and Zong! as readings for class I was disinterested. Leading up to the class, I kept saying to my classmates "This isn't poetry!" Perhaps it is because they take longer to work through, or because I haven't really studied blank space poetry people, or perhaps it is as a result of my strangle inexplicable rejection of the modern. However, after discussing these poems in class and reading the essay which went along with Zong! I developed an appreciation for the style. Moreover, I discovered that the use of blank spaces brings so much to the poem and the experience of the poem.

Zong! is such a moving piece because of it's use of blank space and erasure techniques. The poem boils down this horrific event down to it's simple essentials. The first Zong!, in particular, is chilling. The poet captures the terrible weakness of the slaves and unspeakable thirst for water: " w w waa / ter / g g go / day s / wa wa."

Then again in Zong! # again, are some more sickening lines, this line in particular, on page eight of Zong! #, "such drab necessity / here we / murder / re negros / like ants" is quite stomach-turning.

The erasure activity given to the class was a valuable task which also gave me a deeper appreciation for this style of poetry; pulling a piece of writing apart, as Prof. Hickey suggested, reveals the texts within.

Here is the erasure creation I made in the final minutes of classes from the first page of Mellville's Moby Dick.

I did not go as far as to take apart the words themselves as Phillip did in Zong!, however, did try to place the words in very particular places to reflect their motion.


Created with images by Mark Turnauckas - "Blank Page" • cdrummbks - "moby dick"

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