“There are folks who don’t think it’s time for a black woman to be governor of any state, let alone a state in the Deep South. But there’s no wrong time for a black woman to be in charge.”
That’s a fab quote from Stacey Abrams, who I love enough to wish I lived in Georgia so I could vote for her. The article I pulled it from is my source text for today’s poem.
A Black Woman in Charge
(An erasure of the Mother Jones article about Stacey Abrams.
Nearly all had power,
a who’s who of Black women.
Bedazzled, tall, warm.
A romantic quest,
a leap of faith,
a coalition for women.
have long been the backbone …
and taken for granted.
Because they’re women
and because they’re Black.
Bet on the future –
people of color, Black women.
Bet on the future –
Bet on a future that understands
wanting something for yourself.
Bet on the future.
It’s National Poetry Month! Every year, I choose a specific form and try to write a poem a day in that form. This year, I am trying erasure poems and I want to use news articles as my source texts. I’ve practiced a few times, and it’s already feeling difficult! We’ll see how it goes.
Here’s an edited version of the Wiki definition of this form:
Erasure Poetry: a form of found poetry created by erasing words from an existing text in prose or verse and framing the result on the page as a poem. Erasure is a way to give an existing piece of writing a new set of meanings, questions, or suggestions. It lessens the trace of authorship but requires purposeful decision making. What does one want done to the original text? Does a gesture celebrate, denigrate, subvert, or efface the source completely? One can erase intuitively by focusing on musical and thematic elements or systematically by following a specific process regardless of the outcome.
Also, Robert Lee Brewer at Writer’s Digest has some good points to add about ethics and plagiarism:
Quick note on ethics: There is a line to be drawn between erasure poems and plagiarism. If you’re not erasing more than 50% of the text, then I’d argue you’re not making enough critical decisions to create a new piece of art. Further, it’s always good form to credit the original source for your erasures.