VOS is an erasure of Virginia Woolf's first novel, A Voyage Out, with accompanying collages by Erik Fuhrer. Cover image by Kimberly Androlowicz. Forward by Laci Mattison.
Praise for VOS
"Erasurist, Erik-John Fuhrer, in his Voyage Out Sonnets, is part vivisectionist, part misprisionist. In surgically erasing Virginia Woolf’s A Voyage Out, Fuhrer augments the canon of great erasurists dating back to the Dadaist, whose scalpels disemboweled Urtexts. Redaction redacts its redactor and is allowed to stand in situ. Sous rature, itself erased, whitesout its blackout meld. A palimpsest of memento mori collages in noir serve as VOS’ metadata. From VOS, “Bone hollows shape the plunge of speech.” Fuhrer’s Voyage Out Sonnets is erasure’s crescendo."
—Daniel Y. Harris
Emphasizing possibility over the collapsing of the original text, Fuhrer has fashioned an inimitable world alongside Woolf’s, a parallel journey in which all becomes possible. Free of human entanglement, inanimate objects, creatures, time itself gain agency. Reality becomes fragmentary, bodies function only in parts. Yet, instead of devolving into chaos, an order surges. The moment elongates to contain more. The disparate elements develop personalities. In sharp contrast to the apathy of humanity, these are agents of action that are worthy of feeling. They charm and jolt us out of our helplessness. They teach us what it is to live.
Fuhrer has a distinctive ability to cull wonder, humor, ache, in a single line. Each sonnet takes us on a journey not only through the imagery and action, but through the texture and rhythm that mirror the motion of the water, connecting the original text and Fuhrer’s alchemical parallel world. Surprising, searing, playful, heartbreaking - this is a realm you’ll want to continue to discover forever, “drawing love from hollows of days.” A suspended moment of wonder in the midst of cataclysm.
—Susanna Velarde Covarrubias
Words, Virginia Woolf suggested in her essay-talk ‘Craftsmanship’, ‘hate anything that stamps them with one meaning or confines them to one attitude, for it is their nature to change’. Inspired by Woolf’s first novel, The Voyage Out, precisely to cut her words loose from any settled meanings, Erik Fuhrer’s VOS shimmers with the multiplicity and plasticity of language. The result is a remarkable series of poems that assemble human and nonhuman (as well as what Fuhrer calls ‘Honestly inhuman’) life in playful, strange, intimate and often surreal arrangements, where ‘a cow’s knees are tall grass’ and ‘Rats put down roots/ with human beings who knew better than to stay’. In such images we are invited to revel in the nature of erasure.