Erasing literature

I read an article about how cheap copies of The Great Gatsby are leaving out the last three pages, perhaps because no one checked, but also perhaps it saves money. The article explained the dangers to culture and literature from such practices with out of copyright texts and there were many valid points made. Then I drifted way, distracted by something or other. I can’t argue though, if you are reading the entire text of The Great Gatsby, you need the last pages, and particularly the last paragraph. If however, you want to do other things with the text, well. That’s entirely something else.

This brings me to poetry. Erasure poetry is fun as an exercise. It’s like decoding a passage of writing to deliver a message within the text. Cheap copies of old novels are perfect for this task. I have used Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre for physical erasure poems, and for the Void Space Zine callout, I was naturally drawn to use the first page of a digital copy of Jane Eyre, inserting the text into a program that deletes words. You can see this special publication, along with my three efforts as a result of this digital poetry process online, here.

Thank you for reading.

The 2022 Writing Update.

Rejections: 51
Pending: 101
Acceptances by publisher: 11
Acceptances by work: 14
Published: 6

2 thoughts on “Erasing literature

  1. Hey Bec,
    I’m curious. Your writing update numbers. They’re fascinating, and watching the numbers tick over are hypnotic. Obviously the higher the number of acceptances and publishes the better, but I’d expect that not all are weighted equally. Getting paid must factor in somewhere as well.
    But as I said, I’m curious – what constitutes success?

    • Hello there! Thanks for visiting. Every acceptance is a positive, and turns more positive when the work is published – I have written about how publication doesn’t always happen and how acceptance is no guarantee. Anyway, to my mind, every positive is a success. Getting paid is positive, but honestly it’s not the main focus, or even a focus. I do believe in ‘pay the writers’ but I have spent literal, actual years only submitting to places that pay with very little out of it. I’m lucky I don’t depend on writing to live, because writing has probably cost me more than I’ve earnt from it. On that count I am a failure, however, this failure is a part of a larger systemic, cultural failure within society. To answer your question: success is writing, success is editing, success is seeing a work published, success is readers and editors telling me they appreciated what I have written. On some days success is managing to check emails. I’ve had successes, I have failed things, but the point is to keep going, moving beyond binary success/failure rates, even though, like you, I find watching the numbers tick over hypnotic. But the writing is more than numbers, just like we are all more than what we create. Thanks again. Bec.

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