This Poet Turns Celeb Sexual Misconduct Statements Like Louis C.K.’s Into Haunting Erasure PoetryPhotos by David McNew/Getty, Ben Gabbe/Getty Books News Sexual Misconduct
Poet and essayist Isobel O’Hare has offered a poignant response to the #MeToo movement, using apology statements from celebrity sexual predators to create powerful erasure poetry.
In one example, O’Hare blacks out most of Louis C.K.’s statement in which he admitted to sexual misconduct, leaving only the words, “My dick / is / a question / I / run from.”
— Isobel O’Hare (@isobelohare) November 12, 2017
The poet explained the genesis of the concept behind her erasure poems to Refinery29:
The idea came from this feeling I’ve been sitting with (that a lot of us have been sitting with) of being triggered and overwhelmed by the constant barrage of new reports of abuse, which are heart-wrenching, followed by hollow PR statements from the accused that seem more self-pitying and deflective than remorseful.
O’Hare went on to note that she wants to expose the self-serving nature of such statements:
I think of poems as spells, and the foundation of a spell is the desire for transformation. In making these erasures, I try to bring to light what is really happening in these statements. My hope is that the spell of the erasure [will] lift the veil of PR language and show people what is really being asked of them, or communicated to them, through these statements.
And in an email to Mashable, O’Hare acknowledged the toxic hypocrisy her erasure is meant to reflect, writing, “I hope that the form of erasure itself draws attention to the fact that these men have in fact erased the voices of their victims, for many years, some very deliberately and litigiously.”
See a select few of O’Hare’s haunting erasure poems below, and find the complete series on her Instagram here.
“ignoring the truth” – I blacked out Jesse Lacey’s statement. This one was difficult for me because the context of his abuse is close to home (he targeted underage girls, but makes no mention of that in his statement, instead framing this as an issue of marital infidelity and sex addiction). I did three iterations of this before settling on this one, and the first one has droplets of my own blood on it because I was biting my thumb so hard while blacking it out). #erasure #erasurepoetry #blackout #jesselacey #brandnew #metoo