Obliterations (Paperback)

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Every day we are forced to integrate the world’s news into our personal lives; we all have to decide what parts of the flood of news resonate with us and what we need to turn away from, out of necessity or sensitivity. Obliterations—a collection of erasure poems that use The New York Times as their source texts—springs from that seemingly immediate process of personalizing news information. By cutting, synthesizing and arranging existing news items into new poems, the erasure process creates a link between the authors’ poetic sensibilities and the supposedly more “objective” view of the newsmakers. Each author used the same articles but wrote separate erasures without seeing the other’s versions, highlighting the wonderful similarities and differences that arise when two works—or any two people with individual tastes and lenses—share the same stories.

About the Author

Jessica Piazza is the author of two poetry collections: Interrobang (Red Hen Press, 2013), which won the 2013 Balcones Poetry Prize, and the chapbook This is not a sky (Black Lawrence Press). She curates the Poetry Has Value blog, which explores the intersection of poetry, money and worth. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, she holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, an M.A. in Creative Writing from UT Austin, and holds a PhD in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California, where she currently teaches Writing & Rhetoric. She is the Poetry Editor of Southern Pacific Review, co-founded Bat City Review and Gold Line Press, was a contributing editor at The Offending Adam and has blogged for The Best American Poetry and Barrelhouse.  Among other places, her work has appeared in Agni, Indiana Review,Mid-American Review, National Poetry Review,The Missouri Review, Rattle, Hobart and Forklift, Ohio. Jessica’s volunteer work includes mentoring underserved elementary school students and teaching creative writing to teenagers impacted by HIV.
Heather Aimee O’Neill teaches creative writing at CUNY Hunter College and is the Assistant Director of the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop. Her poetry chapbook, Memory Future, won the University of Southern California’s Gold Line Press Award, chosen by judge Carol Muske-Dukes. An excerpt from her novel When The Lights Go On Again was published as a chapbook by Shrinking Violet Press. Her work has been shortlisted for the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner-Wisdom Award and has appeared in numerous literary journals. She is a freelance writer for publications such as Time Out New York, Parents Magazine and Salon.com. She lives in Brooklyn with her partner and two sons.

Praise For…

“In the spirit of Michaelangelo who saw the angel in the marble and carved until he set it free, I contend that these poems are not so much the result of something that has been erased (a word which invariably bears the unfortunate baggage of annulment and invalidity), but rather they are the consequence of a craftswoman’s—two craftswomen’s!—steady hand, the wisdom of her chisel, and the impeccable eye of the best kind of artist: the one who can see through the medium and into the message. What especially sets these poems apart from other erasures I've encountered is their absolute resistance to abstraction. These are as concrete as garden sculptures.”
—Jill Alexander Essbaum, New York Times bestselling author of Hausfrau

“A long time ago, JP and Heather were students in my poetry class. They were pretty advanced and super-prolific, and, frankly, they were annoying the hell out of me. So I decided to keep them busy with some impossible extra-credit work. They were young, and I knew they’d do whatever I said. ‘Write a book,’ I told them, ‘without doing any writing. Write it together, but separately. The poems you somehow produce must complement and complicate each other, but no looking at each other’s poems. Heather, you must seek coherence. Jessica, seek strangeness. Do that for a while, then do the opposite. Have fun, but also reveal fundamental things about the ways Americans receive information and remake it in their own image. When one of you composes a poem called “Vanish,” the other must compose “Chicken Ensues.”’ I told them all of this and figured I’d seen the last of them. Twenty years later, damned if they didn’t bring me this book. A+”
—Eric McHenry, Poet Laureate of Kansas, author of Potscrubber Lullabies

Product Details
ISBN: 9781597097406
ISBN-10: 1597097403
Publisher: Red Hen Press
Publication Date: April 22nd, 2016
Pages: 80
Language: English