allowing for timeby Erika Evans
allowing for time
by Erika Evans
Poems for strangers. Written on a typewriter on the streets of Austin, Texas. Until her life was tragically cut short at age 26, Erika Evans shared her poetic gift with hundreds of people. This is a small collection of her words and art.
Cover art by Erika Evans. Cover design by Olivia Hammerman.
All proceeds from this book benefit the victims of domestic violence.
From the editor
I first met Erika in 2022, when I saw her typing poems in front of Guero’s, a restaurant on South Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas. I was part of a group of poets called Typewriter Rodeo, and we did the same thing—typed poems on the spot for strangers—all over Austin. Between poems, I chatted with Erika and was immediately struck by her energy and sincerity. She had a way with people, especially ones she’d never met.
Over the next few months, I stopped by Erika’s spot, talking with her about the weird but satisfying art of writing poems for strangers. Eventually, I asked if she’d like to join a Typewriter Rodeo event. Her eyes lit up. No, not just her eyes. It was her whole presence. The sun is a huge part of Austin, and it may be an overworked metaphor, but still—Erika looked like part of the sun was shining from beneath that hat. She glowed. And said heck yes she wanted to join us!
The day before our event I messaged Erika, saying I was looking forward to typing with her. The day of, she didn’t show. And I never heard from her.
Not long after, a friend who played violin on South Congress told me what had happened: Erika had been murdered while on a trip with an abusive male companion in Portland, Oregon. And her family was doing a small tribute that weekend, near her spot outside Guero’s.
I went to the tribute, sat down with my typewriter, and wrote Erika a poem. I didn’t know what else to do. That poem, and the message I wrote to Erika’s family, are on the next two pages. I left the poem in the book of tributes, and eventually Erika’s dad reached out to me. He gave me her typewriter (which continues to make poetry magic as part of our group), and I offered to do this book. I can only imagine how different things might have been, if Erika had been able to do that first event with us, and so many more.
Several of the poems in here include responses from the people Erika wrote them for. I hope this book honors her memory and soul, with even the slightest slant of sun she brought so many.
Sean Petrie, April 2023, Austin, TX
From Erika’s Dad
Poet, Artist, Musician, and Writer
Bachelor of Arts, The University of Texas at Austin, 2018
Born in Austin, Erika shared her love of literature and the arts with a delightful creative energy that seemed limitless. An avid traveler, she was always interested in a new adventure. In addition to her musical performances, song writing, travel blogs, and acrylic on canvas paintings, Erika wrote hundreds of poems during the last years of her precious life.
In dedication to her memory, this collection is a portfolio showcasing Erika’s essence and exceptional understanding of the human existence. She downplayed her unique ability to express a concept or topic through poetry, yet her work serves as a lasting legacy for all to enjoy.
The proceeds of this book will assist many other victims of domestic violence.
May 10, 1996 – September 23, 2022
A selection of Erika’s art.
All paintings also in the book.