ERASE the Patriarchy: An Interview with Katie Manning

This is part five of an interview series with authors whose work appears in the erasure-poetry anthology Erase the Patriarchy (University of Hell Press, 2020), which offers readers myriad points of entry from which to consider & re-consider the subgenre. Previous interviewees include editor Isobel O’Hare, as well as authors Tara Campbell, Kitty Stryker, and Addie Tsai. Part five brings us into conversation with Agape Editions author and Erase the Patriarchy contributor Katie Manning, who is the founding EIC of Whale Road Review, and whose latest poetry collection, How to Play, was just published by Louisiana Literature Press (February, 2022).

Fox: So, I’m familiar a little bit already with your work that includes erasure or using found texts as word banks, since I was the editor for your chapbook A Door with A Voice. I’m really interested to hear you talk about your work that was included in Erase the Patriarchy. What was your process like in creating it? Were there any specific experiences, literary or otherwise, that served as precipitating influences?

Katie: I had met the subject of my erasure a few years before his public posts denying any wrongdoing. I had taken a selfie with him, and I was so disgusted by his statement about how so many women had groped him while taking photos with him. It was gross, and it was such a poor attempt to deflect attention from his own behavior. His words clearly needed to be erased.

Tell me a little more about your experience with erasure, before the anthology and its call for submissions. When did you first become interested in the possibilities offered by erasure as a form? What have been your most rewarding experiences using it, and to what ends?

I had a wonderful high school English teacher who introduced me to found poetry. My process more often looks like pulling words/phrases from a text as a word bank rather than erasing surrounding text. I’d say that my most rewarding experience of found poetry has been crafting a full collection called Hereverent, which I created as a protest against Bible verses being taken out of context and used as weapons. (The manuscript is not yet published, but A Door with A Voice contained some of these poems.)

Having had the pleasure of reading Hereverent as an early draft, I can attest to its brilliance. And, of course, on the topic of bright-sparkling literary gems, I have to ask: what was your experience like, reading Erase the Patriarchy as a whole, after it was released? What new insights, if any, do you feel like you gleaned by reading it as a collection/in its entirety?

Thank you! As for the anthology, I found myself awed by the strength of the work: both by the variety of exciting ways to accomplish an erasure (using other objects/substances to block out the text, for instance), and by the powerful messages that emerged from these texts.

What kind of experience would you hope for readers to have who come across the book, out in the world, who may or may not already be familiar with erasure? Is there anything you hope they get to experience, feel, or consider from a fresh perspective? 

I hope that readers experience the transformational and sometimes healing power of erasure, and I hope they might feel empowered to try the form too.

What are you working on now? Any new projects you’re particularly excited about?

Yes! I’m working on a new poetry project that is rooted in grief and trauma but finds comfort in scientific observations and facts. I’m also excited that my new chapbook, How to Play: Poems Inspired by Games, was just published by Louisiana Literature Press.

🟣 🟣 🟣

Katie Manning is the founding Editor-in-Chief of Whale Road Review and a professor of writing at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. She is the author of Tasty Other (Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, 2016), and her chapbook How to Play was just published by Louisiana Literature Press (2022). Her poem “What to Expect” was recently featured on the Poetry Unbound podcast. Find her online at www.katiemanningpoet.com.

Fox Henry Frazier is a poet, essayist, and visual artist. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and a PhD from the University of Southern California, where she was also a Provost’s Fellow. Her poetry collections include The Hydromantic Histories (Bright Hill Press, 2015), Like Ash in the Air After Something Has Burned (2017), and Raven King (Yes Poetry, 2022). Fox created Agape Editions. She lives in upstate New York with her daughter, her dogs, her gardens, and her ghosts.

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