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Sylvia Santiago

3 Questions for Sylvia

What was your process for creating this work?

“Home” was created in the same way as most of my erasure pieces. I isolated the desired words, and text that didn’t serve the poem was obscured with a marker.  A complementary image from a different source was added for visual interest.

Source text: "At the Auction of the Ruby Slippers" by Salman Rushdie. Image: “The Wizard of Oz” retold by William Furstenberg and illustrated by W.W. Denslow.

I used a different approach with “end of meaning”. Once I’d chosen the words of the poem, the extraneous text was removed with a craft knife. The page was then affixed onto a birch bark sheet.  

Source text: "The Cold Green Element" by Irving Layton

What is the significance of the form(s) you chose?

I usually write free verse and prose poetry, which always begins with a blank page. With erasure poems I'm challenged to find new meaning in, or to distill meaning from, an existing text. It’s an alternative mode of expression that I enjoy.

What is the significance of this work to you?

This year has been especially difficult for me on a personal level, and more often than not I’ve found solace in creative activity. To me these erasure pieces are metaphorical lifebuoys.

Sylvia Santiago is a writer and insomniac living in western Canada. Her work has been published in Cutbow Quarterly, Ellipsis Zine, HAD, Honey Literary, and elsewhere. Find her on Twitter @sylviasays2