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Hate Speech Poetry

By Harriet Staff

The Melville House blog draws our attention to GodLovesPoetry.com, which, as the name suggests, takes its aim at the Westboro Baptist Church, whose anti-gay statements and protests are notoriously vitriolic (they protest funerals, for example). Anyway, Andres and Kevin, who created the site, manipulate the WBC’s words, and make poems with positive messages:

Using the press releases published by the WBC, the poets erase the words they don’t want and what’s left is usually a thought-provoking message. The medium itself has been used before, and the project takes its inspiration from Austin Kleon’s ‘Newspaper Blackout‘, and it’s refreshing to see the focus of so much hatred turned into something else with a little creativity.

Unlike other erasure poems, the deliberate obscuring of language here, in context, seems angry, and political in a different sense. One can make an erasure from Shakespeare’s poetry, but probably not in order to shut Shakespeare up. But making an erasure from WBC is, one could posit, an act of merciful shutting up.


Posted in Poetry News on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 by Harriet Staff.