The poems and art of an Austin artist

"In dedication to her memory, this collection is a portfolio showcasing Erika’s essence and exceptional understanding of the human existence."

Excerpts from allowing for time by Erika Evans, edited by Sean Petrie 

Used with permission from the editor. 


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 


Erika Evans: 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 


Poems for others 


The poems in this collection were all written by Erika on the spot on her typewriter, when a stranger came up and gave her a topic. As much as possible, the original formatting is preserved. Some poems also have a note from the recipient. 


Let There Be Light 


  It is time now 

to take this walk 

     making steady paces across the 

    heavy traffic-laden street 


      I dodge eighteen wheelers with 

        ease, the ambush of 

      tractors and log hauling mega 


     This is life’s candid expression 

        of itself 

   I’ve no need to be sad 

       but I will indulge it 

       regardless from time to time 

          beating on the same old drum 

     of those preceding me 

   living out the narrative 

      remembering at times 

      that I’d written it 


Chapter of Determination 


it seemed like for so long 

we'd been spinning idly 

toiling away 

without true intention or motive 

     now a certain 

purposefulness has come about 

  a raunchy sort of turn around 

from simple sitting 

to leisurely swaying 

sauntering under a moon 

that previously was empty 

   Now it's as astonishing to live 

every morning a miracle  


Note from poem recipient: 


"Words cannot explain the immense gratitude we have for Erika’s beautiful words and having blessed us with such beautiful messages. She wrote this after I explained to her that I was going through a lot of change in a short period of time, a breakup, moving to Austin, etc. and every morning for a couple of weeks I would read her poem to myself to remind myself about something so beautiful she saw in me, that I was having a hard time seeing for myself. She was a beautiful and thoughtful writer." 




step with the 

   grace bestowed to you 

     now walk faster 

     now don’t listen to these requests 

     They are from some arbitrary 

          wielder of power 

 there is only one true holder 

       of all things 

 and now so generously he extends 

a hand 

    fingers like light beams 

            offering you everything 




allowing for time 

by Erika Evans; edited by Sean Petrie 

Burlwood Books 

May 3, 2023 

979-8985078466; 103 pgs. 


allowing for time is a collection of poems by Austin artist Erika Evans, who was tragically killed in September 2022. Erika wrote most of her poems for strangers, on the spot on a typewriter, when they came up to her poetry table in front of Guero’s restaurant on South Congress Avenue. 


The book was edited by Sean Petrie, a fellow poet and a member of Austin’s Typewriter Rodeo. Petrie founded a small press, Burlwood Books, to publish Erika’s book as a tribute to her and a gift to her family. Burlwood now has multiple titles and is committed to helping books exist in a world where they might not otherwise get seen. Petrie still considers Erika’s book the catalyst for all the titles that followed, and hopes it will help others remember the special place Erika had in Austin’s literary community.  


All proceeds from the book benefit the victims of domestic violence.