Making Poetry Out of the Poetry, The Poetic Prose, of Arundhati Roy – an Erasure Poem by Richard Osler

Arundhati Roy. Photo Credit: The Guardian 2020

An Erasure

This thing happened, a virus, yes, but more,
than a virus…the mighty kneel, the world
halts, trying to stitch future to past, refusing
the rupture, the rupture,
this terrible despair,
a chance to rethink the dooms worse than
a pandemic. Imagine a portal, a gateway.
We can drag carcasses, prejudices and hatred,
avarice, data banks and dead ideas, dead
rivers and smoky skies behind us or walk
through lightly, little luggage, ready
to imagine another world, and fight for it.

Richard Osler and Arundhati Roy based on an excerpt from The Pandemic is a Portal by Arundhati Roy, 2020

As seen below, this poem comes from an erasure
of the last few paragraphs of The Pandemic is a Portal,
by Arundhati Roy, an essay in her book: Azadi:
Freedom. Fascism. Fiction.
, Haymarket
Books, 2020

Only once in a while do I share my own poems in a blog post. But call this one a hybrid, a poem by Richard Osler and Arundhati Roy! An erasure of part of her essay The Pandemic is a Portal. Normally in an erasure poem I would want the resulting poem to be almost not recognizable from the original! But in this case that didn’t seem to work and I did want to capture some of the power of what Arundhati was saying! Let’s not miss this once-in-a-lifetime chance to make some big changes because of the pandemic.

Here is the actual erasure on the image and words supplied by Florian Gonzalez on Pinterest. Thank you Florian. And directly below it is Florian’s original image with Arundhati’s words!

Arundhati Roy from her essay The Pandemic is a Portal from her book, Azadi:Freedom. Facisim. Fiction.,Haymarket Books, 2020. Image customized and posted on Pinterest by Florian Gonzalez.



  1. Teri
    Posted January 3, 2021 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this. I had seen the original, I found yours also compelling, and then spent a lot of time looking and comparing the two. Nice way to spend a rainy Saturday.

  2. Richard Osler
    Posted January 10, 2021 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much Teri! All best, Richard

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