Spotlight series #43 : Melissa Eleftherion

rob mclennan
Nov 4 · 3 min read

Curated by Canadian writer, editor and publisher rob mclennan, the “spotlight” series appears the first Monday of every month.


These erasure poems are from a series I’ve been working on about trauma. Erasures can be a useful form for processing trauma because it can helps the writer externalize any traumatic events that come up, while also building towards a catharsis. They can help one excavate and uplight these traumatic experiences; they can help us shine a light on the dark. Erasures can also be less labor-intensive because the author is not singularly responsible for the poem that’s created. It is a collaboration between the author and the existing text. The creation of an erasure poem can happen organically, through a series of associations and connections that develop between the author and the page.

As a person trying to balance some kind of writing life alongside a demanding FT job, as well as a family and other responsibilities, I participate in various poetry experiments to keep myself creatively engaged and active. One such experiment is a group 30/30 project I’ve participated in for the past three years called The Poeming, where 30 poets write 30 erasure poems in 30 days using an assigned text. The erasure poems featured here were based on V.C. Andrews’ Flowers in The Attic, a text I (oddly) read and reread over again as a youth.

With a single page from Flowers in the Attic as a backdrop or landscape for each of these erasure poems, I was able to construct very sparing poems that accrete towards a narrative. Since I had a previous relationship with the text, I was able to tap back into the young person reading and connecting with that book, and also move beyond those memories to build towards something new.


Melissa Eleftherion is a writer, librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & six chapbooks, including the recently released little ditch (above/ground press, 2018), with a new title forthcoming from above/ground press as well. Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa now lives in Mendocino County where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series. Recent work is available at

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