How to Write an Erasure Poem

How to

Happy Monday! Well not really, it’ll only be a happy Monday if Monday never came. Oh well.

Anyways, I thought and thought about what today’s blog post would be about. I had many ideas but they weren’t fleshed out enough. And so they’re temporarily on hold for a later post date. So for today’s post, I thought I’d show how to write an erasure poem.

Last May, I shared an erasure poem I did as an assignment for an online poetry class I took. You can read the poem, Responsibility, here. And today, I’m taking you on a step by step process on how to write one. And don’t worry if you’re a horrible poet or never wrote a poem before. Because it’s easier than you’d think. Ready?

Step 1. Find a text. It can be an article from a newspaper or a magazine, a scene in a book, etc.

Step 2. Take any text. As you read through the text take from any words you’d like to use. You can choose them because they jump at you or because you like it. It’s up to you what those words are.

Step 3. Create your poem. Rearrange all the words you’ve chosen and form it into a poem.

Here’s the words taken from a flyer my son brought home that I used to create an erasure poem:

to are proper steps harvest submit your choose winner name hole a spot mix in premium quality remove the gently the roots hands stem fill press down  and use a and of pockets water regularly using or a according to instructions you can your to and to win



To choose your winner

according to instructions

gently fill in a hole

press down and harvest

the roots, remove the stem,

regularly using a premium quality mix

and pockets of water are proper steps.

Or you can use your hands to

submit your name for a spot to win.

© March 14, 2016

Well, there you have an erasure poem written from the words of a student growing cabbage flyer guide. It can use some tweaking but still it proves the potent magic of words. And how truly poetry is everywhere and found in everything.

Ever tried to write an erasure poem before? Want to give it a try now? Share in the comments below!

PS I have two guest blog posts as part of the Can You Catch My Flow? Blog tour today! Write from the Inside Out and Stephanie Faris’ blog! Then another guest post tomorrow on Writing is Home and Thursday at Five Year Project. And again on Friday on Elements of Emaginette. Whew!

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27 thoughts on “How to Write an Erasure Poem

  1. I am delighted to have found your blog and read about you. My book is a poetic memoir. I found using poetry to tell my life story easier at the time. Perhaps I have other books in me as well. For the time, I read with great interest about your transition from Catholic school to public school. I went two years in 7th and 8th grades to a Catholic school before returning to public school. Today public schools are much different than in my day. I know all too well after my retirement from 48 years of teaching German. Poetry is my choice sometimes because it says so much in so few words. I had my students writing and illustrating Haiku poetry in German over the years and became used to this format. Happy writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. What I remember most was huge amount of students. My old Catholic school went from kindergarten to 8th grade. But the public school I had to go, which only went from 5-8, seemed to have had more students. Maybe it was all in my head but seeing hundreds of unfamiliar faces really hit home that I ‘wasn’t in Kansas anymore.” I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my blog and congrats to your poetic memoir. I got into haiku, the senryu and tanka in college and even post senryu poems on Twitter. Here’s to more poetry books in our future!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Quanie. I’ve heard that quite a bit from other people. Even so, if an erasure poem is not for you, you can try blackout poetry. Like an erasure poem, you can use any kind of text like books, letters, magazines and in particular newspapers. Then take a marker and blackout the words you want to leave. Here’s some examples of blackout poetry on Pinterest:


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