By Isabelle Sanderson
This erasure poem is a visual representation of my own writing process. You can see the crossing out of words as well as the words I had to write back in. Sharing any kind of writing is an innately intimate experience, but this specifically feels personal for the way that it displays my mistakes as well as the final project.
Proceed from the heart
And, in consequence
Enter between skin and skin
Do not meet each other; and
This they say nature has done
Finding the ways between membrane and membrane
To penetrate into the interior
To spread out
And turn back
The remainder: superfluous
I had no idea that I wanted to do an erasure poem, but one day my mentor, Anna, brought this incredibly cool book about old medicinal practices with her to one of our meetings. She actually had the idea to turn it into a poem. At first, I struggled, trying to make the words of the book correspond to some idea I already had. Then I realized that the beauty of erasure poetry is that if you allow it, the prewritten words can inspire you to try something entirely new.
Meet the Pair
MENTEE ISABELLE SANDERSON & MENTOR ANNA WITIUK
Isabelle’s Anecdote: When I first met Anna, I immediately noticed all of the colorful barrettes in her hair. Some were neon, some shaped like butterflies; there were even some sparkly ones. I just remember thinking to myself that this must be such a cool lady if she could pull off all these barrettes—and she was! She has been so wonderful in helping me with my writing, exposing me to new books, and even helping my life as a whole. Together, we’ve had discussions about cultural heritage, romantic objectification, and have plans to go to a roller derby match!
Anna’s Anecdote: I am so incredibly honored to be a mentor to Isabelle. The moment I met her I was struck by her mature poise, effervescent energy, and eagerness to learn all about the world and its people. She is an amazingly determined worker. I have very much enjoyed how willing she is to try new and different writing techniques and to explore the definition of what it means to write. Her poem “Encounters,” which started out as a prompt in flash fiction, is a perfect example of this. With her dynamic experiments in line breaks, she turned this single paragraph into a surging and evocative poem of descriptive senses and personal experience.
Isabelle Sanderson is an avid hiker, frequent doodler and a lover of used books. While she enjoys writing in all forms, she has a special love for letter-writing and annotating her favorite books. When she is not writing, Isabelle can be found hosting climate education workshops, lobbying local legislators or tutoring elementary schoolers.