Someone makes a piece of art, and it is art. Someone else takes that piece of art, erases it completely with painstaking hard work, and it is art again.
The concept of what was done with that sketch and how the “nothing” was made out to be “something” really spoke to me in a fascinating way. Something that was and now something that isn’t are considered the same thing – art. That makes me ask the question: Why and how do we classify things if these two very different things can both be classified in the same way? The new erased piece of art, in line with the sketch that it used to be, enters the realm of the paradox.
Relating this to poetry seems to be a little more of a complex step. After all, one can’t write a poem, then erase it, and still call it a poem. It might be considered art, but it cannot be considered a poem – it would be more of a creative statement and not a new piece of written word. So, the next question comes: can a poem come from nothing? Eliot suggests in “Tradition and the Individual Talent” that poetry never comes from nothing; there is always that tradition behind it and in it, whether the author intended it or not.
Poetry, then, really can’t be defined as ‘nothing;’ it is definitively there, and when no one knows it exists, it is still there. Linking poetry and it’s existence to the de Kooning piece erased by Rauschenberg is quite interesting. Can poetry, like the sketch, be something and then made into nothing?
Just a few thoughts.