Erasing the Humument

Having succumbed to the use myself [feeling a need to explain to an editor who wouldn’t otherwise get it] I am still saddened to see the term erasure poetry replacing the term of its origins humument/s.

I have written on and about this before here, and I am in fact delighted to actually see the proliferation of this poetic technique under whatever name [there is also black out poetry and more I’m sure], but as Tom Phillips created it, I think we should celebrate this by retaining or at the very least referencing the name and its origins.

So I have:

Humu - Copy

Visit here for further background.

4 thoughts on “Erasing the Humument

  1. A Humument poetry would involve fine art painting/illustration, rather than simply the selection of text, surely? And I don’t think Tom Phillips was the first, though he has certainly popularised it, as has the Blackout Poetry blog and book. But really it’s all rooted in Dada poetics.



    • Seems pedantically corrective, but I get your point. People who illustrate/paint also call it ‘erasure’ and ‘block out’ and so on. I was simply trying to celebrate someone I like and admire rather than explore a lineage beyond my experience.


      • Yes, A Humument is great! I hope you know the website, and there’s an iPad app for it as well!



  2. Had an engaged response to the article on Twitter – thanks Tim – and he made the point he’d been writing similarly without knowing humuments. Of course that’s fine, and as I said in my post I was delighted with the ‘proliferation’ of this form, whatever it is called. Tim also made the observation it is all ‘found’ poetry and I think that is spot-on as a summation. For me, Tom Philliips’ work is, yes, to do with illustration [and whatever the lineage…] but it is more than ‘erasing’ text and that’s my focus. And finally, yes: both my links in the post take the reader to much more detailed writing about humuments, and to TP’s site.


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