I talk freely
I talk fluently
I talk to God
I swore, and the noise arose
I thought I was better
than those smiles,
–Erasure Poem made from Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.” One poem per page from The Essential Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe (Barnes & Noble, 2004)
This is the final erasure poem from Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart.” It’s been an interesting experiment creating these. I chose the story because it was short, I knew I’d have time to do it, and I know the story well since it’s a freshman lit standard. I wanted to escape the story, but Poe’s deranged narrator made that difficult and so the poems came out appropriately dark.
Poe was also a tricky subject for his elevated use of language—them fifty dollar words, if you will. I made a semi-conscious effort to avoid some of that to get a more natural, modern sound to these.
I liked doing the actual erasures what with the physical manipulation of the materials. It really felt like I was making something. I typed them, though, because I would find such things annoying to read if I had to read very many of them and also, I would like them to be able to stand on their own as a series, if not singly.