6 of My Favorite Alice in Wonderland Erasures

In the summer of 2016 I contributed a suite of erasures to NonBinary Review Issue #10: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I had a lot of fun creating these on my computer—my typical process is to circle or cross words out by hand, so this was something a little different. Many thanks to editors Allie Marini and Lise Quintana for first publishing these!

Alice in Wonderland erasure by Erin Dorney
Alice in Wonderland erasure by Erin Dorney
Alice in Wonderland erasure by Erin Dorney
Alice in Wonderland erasure by Erin Dorney
Alice in Wonderland erasure by Erin Dorney
Alice in Wonderland erasure by Erin Dorney

These are found poems. Source material: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll with original illustrations by Sir John Tenniel, Scholastic Inc., 1988.

Poems in the Streets: My Erasure Installation for Made Here

It's not often that poets get to see their work off of a page (or screen). This summer I had the chance to display some of my erasure poems in an art installation for Made Here: Future, a project by Hennepin Theatre Trust.

 PHOTO BY STEVEN LANG

PHOTO BY STEVEN LANG

Made Here is a walkable urban art experience that temporarily fills empty storefronts and commercial spaces with the work of Minnesota artists. Located in the West Downtown Minneapolis Cultural District, the project aims to highlight artists but also bring attention to available downtown properties—piquing the interest of renters and entrepreneurs. In fact, my installation came down prematurely when the former Rosa Mexicano restaurant in City Center was leased after being vacant for nearly a year.

"Dystopia Erased" showcased erasure poems sourced from four different dystopian novels, with themes including the existence of fact through memory; women’s bodies as political instruments; language as a tool of power; the causes of complacency; environmental and economic crises; racial and ethnic tensions; immigration; institutionalized population control; and perceptions of otherness. My source texts included The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood; Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler; 1984 by George Orwell; and Ink by Sabrina Vourvoulias.

Presenting my words as an art exhibit was filled with a lot of new challenges. Once I wrote the poems I had to design each 36"x64" panel, do test prints, revise, print again, and then transport and install the poems at my site. Erasure already forces you to work under constraints and this project presented even more of them. However, one great thing about Made Here is that the staff are available to help you through each step. The program is very accessible to emerging artists—the application does not require a resume or even previous exhibition experience, just a good idea.

In order to curate four poems that worked well together for the installation, I wrote over 40 erasure poems sourced from the four novels. Below are some that didn't make it onto the windows for Made Here, but I think are still worth sharing.


Butler_Erasure_Dorney

Atwood_Erasure_Dorney

Orwell_Erasure_Dorney

Vourvoulias_Erasure_Dorney
 

Erasure poems by Erin Dorney, 2017