My new chapbook, trauma suture, uses erasure to excavate small truths & reconstruct identity. I created these poems while participating in 30/30s in a group called The Poeming, created by E.K. Anderson. I work with two texts; Indexing by Seanan McGuire, and Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews. Most of the erasure or remixed poems were created using a single page of the text. I’m grateful to Rob McLennan for publishing it with above/ground press!
Three poems from my “sutures” series are featured in Rob McLennan’s Spotlight series today, along with a poetics re: erasures and trauma. Here’s an excerpt:
“Erasures can be a useful form for processing trauma because it can helps the writer externalize any traumatic events that come up, while also building towards a catharsis. They can help one excavate and uplight these traumatic experiences; they can help us shine a light on the dark. Erasures can also be less labor-intensive because the author is not singularly responsible for the poem that’s created. It is a collaboration between the author and the existing text. The creation of an erasure poem can happen organically, through a series of associations and connections that develop between the author and the page.”
CW/TW: sexual abuse, broets, pobiz bullshit
If you’re one of the two people who read this blog (hi, Mom!), you might know that my book, field guide to autobiography, was orphaned back in October due to the press’ publisher being outed as a sexual abuser. As a survivor of sexual violence, a staunch women’s rights advocate, & a human being with a brain who believes women, this was triggering on many levels.
When I found out, it was a week after the Mendo Lake Complex Fires, & I was on a bus home from Oakland where I had been doing a reading & classroom visit at CCA. I’m wearing a mask and I’m feeling such rage. I’m thinking of betrayals and rape culture and the woods and I’m listening to Black Hole Sun and remembering the toxic aftershocks. Memories I’ve trapped in amber all these years. So – after crying for about an hour while somehow also listening to 90s rock, I wrote to the publisher & withdrew my book.
For several months, I distracted myself with family & work obligations, & tried to work through some of this rage at the gym, all while mourning & feeling pretty cagey about trusting another publisher with my work.
A few weeks ago, I delved into editing and revising my manuscript-in-progress (which is largely about rape culture & sexual predation of teen girls), little ditch, & excised half of it, rendering a chapbook-length manuscript which I later submitted to above/ground press. Feeling the momentum from that accomplishment, I decided to submit field guide to a few presses I had carefully vetted (though, the vetting wasn’t new – I thought I had carefully vetted the previous publisher as well). Well….
This story has a happy middle. I found out just last week that both field guide to autobiography & little ditch will be published by The Operating System & above/ground press, respectively. I’m so thrilled, & grateful to both Lynne DeSilva-Johnson & Rob McLennan for being such stalwart, literary citizens & for helping to restore my faith in poetry world. Hooray for great publishers who actually give a damn about the work! Hooray for not needing to spend 5 hours proofreading my manuscript because the publisher kept introducing weird errors & errant phrases during every iteration! Hooray for a true collaboration! I’m stoked.
Oh – there have been these two new, wonderful reviews published about field guide:
Stay strong, friends.