If you haven’t heard of R E D, by Chase Berggrun, then you probably should leave this page and go read a few poems from that collection right now.
The collection is a book-length erasure of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’s an incredible accomplishment. Berggrun created (carved, excavated) a stunning narrative of womanhood and violence.
We never refer to sadness
as something that looks
but it does
This interview with Ruby Brunton at BOMB drops you into a deep conversation on the poetics of erasure, and whether you’re a reader, a writer, or both, it’s a vital discourse on poetry at a time when such discourse is often polluted.
Literary appropriation is always a political act, and the politics of erasure is unsettling and frightening. It is dangerous. Erasing Dracula was a violent act. It was a text I believe I had a right to deface, but I am and always will be uncomfortable with erasure, which is the way it should be. I always recommend this brilliant essay by Solmaz Sharif, who says at the beginning: “The first time I confronted erasure as an aesthetic tactic I was horrified.” We must be critical of these kinds of forms, especially when they are forms that are dear to us.
An interview like this not only expands the context for a particular book, but rather the broader context of poetry itself.