Title: I Hope This Finds You Well: Poems
Author: Kate Baer
Length: 80 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Release Date: November 9, 2021
Content Warnings: misogyny, body shaming, racism, eating disorder, sexual assault, sexual harassment
The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller What Kind of Woman returns with a collection of erasure poems created from notes she received from followers, supporters and detractors— a ritual that reclaims the vitriol from online trolls and inspires readers to transform what is ugly or painful in their own lives into something beautiful.
“I’m sure you could benefit from jumping on a treadmill”
“Women WANT a male leader . . . It’s honest to god the basic human playbook”
These are some of the thousands of messages that Kate Baer has received online. Like countless other writers—particularly women—with profiles on the internet, as Kate’s online presence grew, so did the darker messages crowding her inbox. These missives from strangers have ranged from “advice” and opinions to outright harassment.
At first, these messages resulted in an immediate delete and block. Until, on a whim, Kate decided to transform the cruelty into art, using it to create fresh and intriguing poems. These pieces, along with ones made from notes of gratitude and love, as well as from the words of public figures, have become some of her most beloved work.
I Hope This Finds You Well is drawn from those works: a book of poetry birthed in the darkness of the internet that offers light and hope. By cleverly building on the harsh negativity and hate women often receive—and combining it with heartwarming messages of support, gratitude, and connection, Kate Baer offers us a lesson in empowerment, showing how we too can turn bitterness into beauty.
Erasure is one of my favorite forms of poetry. I love uncovering hidden messages in existing texts and the juxtaposition of ideas in the erasure with the original.
This collection is comprised of erasures of messages sent to the author online. While some of these messages were supportive, many were critical and vitriolic. It is amazing to see what comments complete strangers feel compelled to share within the Internet’s veneer of anonymity, and even more amazing to see how Kate Baer uncovered empowering messages about women, bodies, sexuality, politics, and more no matter the intent of the original text.
This collection is short and sweet, but worth the read! I can’t wait to read more of this poet’s work.