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Erasures in Literature

Erasure is a form of literature, often poetry, created by selectively erasing words from an existing text to produce a new work. There are many ways writers choose to erase; delete, redact, white out, cross out, draw over, illustrate… to name a few. The Library's collection is full of erasure literature—here are some to get you started…

Jen Bervin
Ugly Duckling Presse: Brooklyn, N.Y. 2004
An erasure of The Sonnets of William Shakespeare

A Humument
A Humument
Tom Phillips
Thames and Hudson: London U.K. 1980
The classic erasure in word and image of the Victorian novel The Human Document by W.H. Mallock 

Of Lamb
Of Lamb
Matthea  Harvey and Jean Ann Porter
McSweeney’s Books: San Francisco, CA. 2011 
An erasure in poems and paintings of A Portrait of Charles Lamb by David Cecil 

Sonne From Ort
Sonne from Ort
Christian Hawkey and Uljana Wolf
Kookbooks: Berlin, Germany 2012  
A bilingual erasure of Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and the German translation by Rainer Maria Rilke. 

Join  us on April 25 for the first ever NYC Erasure Festival—a collaboration between NYPL and Community of Literary Magazines and Presses.  We'll set the stage for you to create your own.  For inspiration an exhibit of erasure texts from the Library's collections will be on view and brief panel discussion on the art of erasure—then it'll be your turn.  We'll provide the texts and sharpies and we'll share the newly created masterpieces through social media. And of course, everyone attending can take home what they make! 

NYC Erasure Festival
Saturday, April 25
2-4:30 pm
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, DeWitt Wallace Periodical Room


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