Student work – Treated page

A few responses to the treated page exercise I gave my students as we met and read and viewed and wrestled with Tom Phillips’s A Humument. All struck me. Each differs from the others plenty. None imitates Phillips servilely. All take care with their erasural gestures, understand them to be, as they are, presences in their own right.

One that foreswears mimesis almost entirely and uses abstract form pattern and colour to expose the ickiness of its source text’s speaker. (A lot depends with this exercise on the right kind of friction with one’s source text.)

Treated page 4

One that goes maximal, takes erasure as a baroque occasion. (I neglected to note the source text here, oops.) It actually has texture under your fingertips. Glitter that bites back.

Treated page 2

And one that goes minimal, erases erasure, or proposes that we omit omission, or something like that, its ironies tangle my head. The source text is Strunk & White’s Elements of Style and it mucks with their most famous pro-imposition, “Omit needless words.”

Treated page 3

A dismantlement of text that can’t help but call to mind Susan Howe’s, as this from “Fragment of the Wedding Dress of Sarah Pierpont Edwards” in Souls of the Labadie Tract:

Howe - wedding dress (A poet I’ve never had the guts to try to teach.) There were others good, wonderful even, or that didn’t in themselves transcend but were important explorations for their fashioners. There’s in fact no knowing what will beget what. That’s why I don’t grade these, they should be done in great spirited freedom.

In a few I’ll hope to write a bit about my own muckings about with treated pages. Nothing so colourful as these. Also want to write about really good discussions we had today on qualities of line (actual and implied, that’s from Taylor) and the non-blankness of the blank page. First though dinner – steak!

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I write draw teach blog in and from the Pacific Northwest of America.

4 thoughts on “Student work – Treated page”

  1. Wow, that first one is truly lovely! Seems like students (especially English major folk) struggle most the visuals with erasures, but that one is both beautifully sharp and interesting textually. So cool, Chris! Thanks for sharing.


  2. These are wild and gorgeous and inspiring. I’ll direct my students here come September when we do our annual erasure exercise in my intro poetry class. I marvel at this boldness — if these writers can create such imaginative erasures at the first go, just think what may come next!


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