Erasure poetry is where a writer deducts words from an existing text to produce a completely new piece of work. Kate Baer’s poetry has been popularised on Instagram, creating beauty out of bitterness and toxicity. I Hope This Finds You Well carries on her tradition of transforming online messages into blackout poems, whether through messages she has received or from speeches, quotes or comment threads.
In RE: My Black Friend, Baer receives criticism from a reader unhappy with her support for the BLM movement, who insists, “I am not a racist. I have African American friends”. After blanking out several words, she retorts, “I hope this finds you searching for every voice you have cleverly erased”. Other standouts in the collection include RE: Relentless Motherhood – a perspective on the agony and ecstasy of being a mother – and RE: Your Mommy Pouch, which delves into body image and diet culture.
Existing in this age of social media can be exhausting. Many women who have encountered their fair share of online trolls will have the same justified response – delete, block and try move on. Kate Baer powerfully captures these moments, refusing to bow down to keyboard warriors, whilst appreciating messages of gratitude and positivity.
I Hope This Finds You Well, Kate Baer (Orion Spring)
Price: £9.99. Info: here
words COBY BARKER
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