This week, the penultimate poem in our Found in the Public Domain series: [32] by Melissa Frederick, a deletion of Shakespeare’s sonnet 32.

About the poem and its composition Melissa says:

“This poem is part of a series of erasures—deletions, I’m calling them—of Shakespeare’s sonnets.  What I do to construct the poems is this:  I go to the ‘Shakespeare’s Sonnets’ page on EServer, an open-access arts and humanities web site founded in 1990.  The sonnets page presents you with a block of three-digit numbered links—no quotations, no first lines—from 001 to 154.  I choose a number at random, click on the link, and type the sonnet I find there into my computer.  I read the text as many times as I have to for the meaning to sink in.  Then, when I have the first few words in my head, I start hitting the backspace button.  The only rule of law I adhere to is letter order.  Words and parts of words in the original sonnet can be eliminated, and line breaks and punctuation can be removed or added at will (hah!) by me.

I do my best to make some sort of connection between my piece and Shakespeare’s vision.  Sonnet 32 is one of Shakespeare’s more passive-aggressive pieces, where he tells his lover to appreciate his work for the feeling behind it should the writing quality not withstand the test of time.  My vision for the deletion was of the lover answering back that Shakespeare only appreciates him (or her) as a literary subject.”