CFP: The Art of Erasure (Eco)Poetry

The Art of Erasure (Eco)Poetry

Calling poets one and all, including those who don’t know they’re poets yet . . . Edge Effects is now inviting submissions of erasure poetry. Submit yours by May 10, 2021.

Are you looking for a way to celebrate National Poetry Month this April? Submit! Are you teacher searching for a fun project to engage your students for Earth Day? Look no further. We are seeking erasure poems written by people of all ages and from all walks of life.

While we will accept submissions that admire and contemplate more-than-human worlds, we also welcome submissions that broaden existing definitions of the “environment.”

What is erasure poetry?

Erasure poetry is a type of found poetry in which the poet takes an existing source text and creates their own poem by erasing, redacting, doodling over, or otherwise obscuring the words in the original text. It’s a creative process without any “new” writing. The poet might use erasure to reveal an unexpected undercurrent lurking inside the source text, to re-envision history, to offer critique, or to craft something entirely new. The method you use to erase portions of the existing text might also be part of your poem’s meaning: a poem made with a Sharpie will differ from one made from a collage of plastic wrappers or in collaboration with a rainstorm. The process you choose and the medium through which you do it is entirely up to you!

Submitted poems might consider themes such as (but not limited to): environmental justice; climate justice; gender and environment; race and environment; extractivism; cultures of disposability and waste; relationships with plants, rocks, waters, and nonhuman animals; rural environments, suburban, and/or urban environments.

Who can submit?

Anyone! Everyone! We particularly encourage submissions by people who don’t imagine themselves to be poets. We hope that teacherselementary through graduate schoolmight find this a useful project in their classrooms. This mini-series aims to include poems that represent a wide range of disciplines, experiences, and walks of life. We look forward to your creations!

If you have any questions, ask the series editors: Addie Hopes, Marisa Lanker, and Weishun Lu.

How to submit?

  • Email your submission as an attachment to by May 10. Please attach your submission to your email as either a high-resolution jpg or a pdf.
  • In the email you send, include a short (~250 word) blurb that tells us: who you are; how you made this poem; and anything you’d like us to know about it.
  • You many submit up to two poems for consideration.

Suggestions for getting started:

  1. Choose your source text. You might use a magazine article, a newspaper, a page of a novel, a map, a scanned copy of an archival document, a print-out of a speech, favorite recipes, a cereal box—anything. You might alternatively use a digital version of your source text (i.e. a Word doc, a Google doc, a text from the Internet Archives). Really, any source text you have an urge to dig into will work!
  2. Examine the page. Read the text closely. Find any words, phrases, or themes that strike you. It might be helpful to identify one or two keywords or themes to build your poem around.  
  3. Select your erasure method. Are you using a glitter marker, Wite-Out, a collage of trash? Or maybe you’ll leave your source text out in the rain, bury it in your compost, or give it to a companion animal to see what their writing offers. Perhaps you’ll use your artistic skills to doodle, draw, paint over the redacted text.  Or is a black Sharpie what you need for your project? This can be as simple or as ornate as you’d like.  
  4. Create your erasure!

Further reading and examples: