At photographer Alex Soth’s ever-illuminating instagram, we were stopped in our tracks by an image of someone walking along a road, and the words, And I gazed at the road.

Roads for us are so often symbols of possibility, of personal process, often unplanned, we need to follow to find our way, explore, grow…And this road seemed to resonate just that way.

Soth scanned several selections from poet Mary Ruefle’s 300-copy edition book An Incarnation of the Now. It is one of her “erasure books”. She takes old books and whites out much of the text to fashion poetry, sometimes applying collage images and found materials.

Mary Ruefle

…We find that the whole makes the poetry: the ancient likely-forgotten book, the painterly whited-out words, the perfection of words and images she has chosen…

Mary Ruefle

…poetry of road…

Mary Ruefle

…We love too imagining how we might try her practice, of taking old-fashioned, curiously paint-like Wite-Out to erase words in old books and find poems hidden in them…

Wite-Out is a potent art material we hadn’t considered.

Editor-at-Large David Saltman commented:

Take a lousy book and make it into poetry, by finding the path.

Mary Ruefle


View the entirety of  Mary Ruefle’s lovely erasure poem “Melody”, here.

Mary Ruefle


If you’ve found illumination, joy, or inspiration in this post, please consider supporting Improvised Life. It only takes a minute to make a secure donation that helps pay our many costs. A little goes a long way towards helping Improvised Life continue to live ad-free in the world.

Support Improvised Life ♥

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *