Erasure poem about mammals

Dear Friends,

I’ve “made” an erasure poem and you’ll see it down below.

After I made it, I went looking for another example on-line and I am rather distressed to find the amazing work of of Mary Ruefle at this interesting site.  I’m a bit distressed because her work makes mine look so …wee and humble.  But I’m glad I found her. There much scope for the imagination with this form.

Oh! And her own web site is here!

Anyway…here’s mine:

erasure poem by ee nobbs

Note: I chose to use a constraint, and that constraint was that I would choose every 8th word. And then I used those words to make a poem. Ironically the original section of text was about mammals, but the word mammals got erased out – but perhaps that’s rather fitting, because at the time, he’s discussing, mammals were still wee and inconspicuous and at the margins of things.

A text of the history written by HG Wells is online here. And other places.

Here’s our mammalian ancestor from a long, long time ago, and new info.

(very) early mammal


  1. Thanks for sharing your work and the interesting links, Ellie. You’re brave to experiment like this and to show your workings – this makes the post very helpful to others (me included!). I have a completely different experience, quite an unsettling one, reading poems like this rather than more ‘formal’ poems. i enjoyed popping in to your blog today.

  2. And thank you, Josephine, for commenting.

    And, yes, I agree – these sorts of procedural poems are unsettling to read, but awfully good fun to write 🙂 Perhaps they’re unsettling because a reader has to decide in what way, if any, they can respond to it. What associations they can make. The weird thing for me when writing it, was wondering if a reader would associate any emotions with it. Working with the source text, and then making decisions on the look for the “new” poem, I felt various things, but I doubted they’d come across to a reader (what I felt) unless I gave them some background – which I did. So it does feel like stepping into the dark…

    I got lots of inspiration (including some sections on Experimental Poetry) from the ModPo course run through Coursera last year. It will be run again in September. It’s great.


  3. This kind of poem gives me the feeling that language has a life of its own! That is a very interesting experiment and I like what she said about being a triangle and having to hit the note at the right moment. Thanks

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