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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Erasure in Taiwan

Asymptote has interviewed the editors of the Taiwanese poetry journal Xianzai Shi (Poetry Now) about their 9th issue (Feb. 2012) themed "Cross It Out," which featured erasure poetry. The erasures were initiated in an exhibit at the Contemporary Art Museum. Read about the various ways poets chose their source materials (including news reports, advertisement, and Jacques Derrida), as well as how crossing out an alphabetic language differs from erasing a logographic language. As Hsia Yu points out, "After crossing out an alphabetic language, you leave behind the sound; after you cross out logographic languages, you leave behind images. How would you want to translate sound? How would you want to translate images?"

Translation and erasure are further compared by Ling Yu, who says, "Between crossing out a language and translating a language, there is a subtle connection; Translation is sometimes just crossing out."

Besides exhibiting their work in a venue devoted to visual arts and thus further emphasizing the visual nature of erasure, the poets created a space where visitors could also experience making erasures for themselves. Some of these pieces were featured in the erasures issue of their magazine.

Having not thought before about the visual aspect of erasures culled from pieces written in a logographic language, I was intrigued by this article. Surveyors of erasure should enjoy this interview.

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