Poems from the Pantry

Robbie Curry

What is the significance of this work for you?

Whenever I get stuck working on a poem and begin to wonder whether the idea is lame, I remind myself, "Poems can be about anything. What matters is how you write it." For this series, I carried that idea a step further: I wanted to prove to myself that poems can be found anywhere, even in a place as mundane as my pantry.

What is the significance of the form you chose for this work?

Erasure is a fascinating form. It starts with limitation—I have only so many words as possibilities. I have no idea what the poem will be about. I have to trust that if I proceed down the page, a meaningful poem will show up, word by word. And when it does, I am often delighted and surprised.

Please describe your process for creating these pieces and what insights it gave you.

I usually start by going down the page and putting boxes around the words I like best, for sound and imagery. Then I have to keep some of those and discard others as I figure out which ones work together for the story or idea that is evolving. I have to take several stabs at it, so I always copy the page before erasing, and work off the copy. When the final poem emerges, I erase on the original. In this case, I took photos of the boxes and bags of foodstuffs, and the erasure was done in Photoshop.

Robbie Curry is a former journalist. Most recently, her poems have been published in Bacopa Literary Review and Litbreak Magazine. She won first place in the ghazal category for the Florida State Poet's Association contest, received a $5,000 artist's grant from the State of Florida, and has been a participant in the Palm Beach Poetry Festival.