Dear Mary: An Erasure

by | Feb 13, 2024 | Issue Thirty-Seven, Poetry

~ Erasure of letter written to Mary Ruefle

When I talk to you in my head
You’re offended

Now when I read about you
When something is reminiscent
When engaging with your why

You are joy
Thank you

Dear Mary,

May I call you Mary? That’s what I call you when I talk to you in my head, so I guess I’ll just hope you’re not offended by informalities.

My name is Amy Marques. Also Amarilis Marques Iscold, in my other iteration. 

As Amarilis Iscold I was a medical doctor, pediatric neonatologist, and am now a professor in child development and psychology. As Amy Marques I am a writer of small fiction, a fetus poet, and a visual artist with the confidence and technique of a kindergartener. 
I stumbled upon found poetry by accident and didn’t know that it was a thing or that it even had a name (names, I guess: erasure, found, visual…). Shortly after, my copy of The Bennington Review arrived and when I read about you I was enchanted (word not used lightly).

Within less than a month, no less than three people mentioned you when reading or publishing my work. Usually as a recommendation. Have you heard of Mary Ruefle? You’d love her work! Sometimes in comparison. There’s something here that is reminiscent Ruefle’s work. Those were so delightful. To even be in the same sentence as you was a validation not necessarily of the quality of my pieces, but of the feeling of kinship I had when engaging with your work.

That is why I am writing now.

I just wanted to reach out to say that you are an inspiration and a joy. I have read your books and laughed and learned in the process. I have read your profile, fascinated by the fact that you, too, have mailed people anonymously (I did that for most of my 20s, sending anonymous encouragement letters to people), and have words pop out at you. 

Because of you, I began to use thrifted books for full book-length found poetry and the first of these is likely to be published in the coming year.

I am enclosing some of the artwork and collage poetry (these aren’t part of the book) I have made in the past few months.
Thank you for being you, for doing the work you do, and for your lectures – written and recorded – that have taught me so much.

Gratitude With,
Amy Marques

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