We typically expect The Writer to begin with a blank page, with nothing, and little by little string together word after word until a story is made, a moment comes to life, or some meaning is named. But there are times when it’s best to borrow, to lift the words of other writers and rearrange, re-make, re-craft. As you’ll see in this week’s Unbound feature, this form of literary theft can unveil ideas both haunting and beautiful. In the pieces below, you’ll meet two young writers who started with pages from Gabriel Garcia Márquez and Italo Calvino, began chipping away, deleting words and phrases until, finally, a new image emerged. The result is something surreal, an invitation to imagine a world we do not know. Much applause for Lalo and Jocelyn from Metz Elementary School. These erasure poems are the kind that linger in the mind and echo.
—un erasure de “El ahogado más hermoso del mundo” de Gabriel García Márquez
El mundo que se llevaba una ballena de la playa de medusas, que llevaba encima hombres más muertos como un caballo. Mucho más hombres cabían en la casa. El olor sólo de lodo.
—an erasure of Gabriel García Márquez’s “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World”
The world that took a whale from the jellyfish beach, where there were deader men like a horse. Many more men fit in the house. The smell only of mud.
Lalo, fourth grade, Metz Elementary School
—an erasure of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities
Desire overland, horizon
from a steamboat
vibrating and cranes
of flags over another’s
ground floor with
A camel hangs
candied leaves of caravan
desert towards fresh, jagged,
from the Despina desert.
Jocelyn, fourth grade, Metz Elementary School