Workshop: The Visual Art of Erasure Poetry

Humument 211 1991 WEB crop

Sunday, May 20, 1- 5pm

Fee: $60 / $50 members
Pre-registration required

To register: 505-242-1445,

516 ARTS welcomes special guest artist Craig Dworkin for a hands-on workshop investigating a popular compositional technique of the last few decades: mining new poetic texts from previously printed works. Whole books have been recently published by whiting out lines from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Kate Chopin's The Awakening, crossing out words from nursery rhymes and history texts, painting over the pages of Victorian novels, and erasing words from the works of Milton, Dickinson, and Shakespeare. And Tom Phillips' ongoing project titled A Humument is a vintage book from the 1800s which he alters every page of by painting, collage and cut-up techniques to create entirely new versions. 

After an introduction to this rich, fun, provocative literature and a consideration of some of the philosophical and political stakes it reveals, participants will try their hands at (de)composing their own works and then experimenting with a new twist on the genre. Part of the technique's success is that anyone can jump right in: you don't have to be "a poet" and absolutely no experience is necessary; and at the same time, it is a great way for even the most advanced writers to hone and test their skills at handling the basic materials of their craft. 

Bring a writing instrument (Sharpie markers, pencils, white-out) and a text that you won't mind writing over (such as an old book, newspaper, office memos). 

DworkinHeadCraig Dworkin  is a poet, critic, editor, curator and currently a Professor of English at the University of Utah. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. from Stanford University. He has worked with the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art (NY), and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Denver), among other galleries and museums internationally. He is the author of the poetry books Motes (2011), The Perverse Library (2010), Parse (2008), Strand (2004), and Dure (2004) as well as scholarly books including Reading the Illegible (2003) and No Medium (2013), in which he discusses works that are blank, erased, clear or silent. He has published articles in such diverse journals as October, Grey Room, Contemporary Literature and College EnglishHe runs Eclipse, an online archive of radical small-press writing from the last quarter century.


Image: Tom Phillips, A Humument, Page 211, detail, 1991. Follow this link to "A Humument" interactive digital project archive hosted by the Tom Phillips Studio.