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Newspaper+marker=poetry: Poet or not, try this

I’m addicted to making and reading newspaper blackout poems. I learned about them when I stumbled across the book Newspaper Blackoutby Austin Kleon.

Kleon discovered newspaper blackout when he was stuck on his writing. He picked up some newspapers lying beside his desk and started marking out words. In his book, Kleon shows examples of newspaper blackout poetry and explains the “20-year history of folks finding poetry in the newspaper,” then goes on to explain how to do it yourself.

Here’s how it works:

Take a marker and pick a story or column in a newspaper. Black out all the words you don’t want and leave the ones that resonate. Or if you want, circle the words you like and then black out the rest.

I like to immerse myself in a newspaper blackout session when I need to let my current writing project simmer in my subconscious.

Check out Kleon’s website to see some of his poems and then create your own.

Exercise: Find a newspaper and a marker. Kleon especially likes the Arts and Metro sections of the newspaper. Begin by looking for a word or combination of words that forms an image in your mind, usually nouns and verbs. Kleon says it can help to find an anchor – a place to start – and then build from there.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for this. After viewing a handful of Mr. Kleon’s examples, my first try ~ “memory and scholarship loved a motorist. He died”

    By the way, Where’s your Google+ and/or Plus1 icon in Share this. Let me know if you need an invite to Google+ if you haven’t tried it, you only need a gmail address and an invite to check it out. Hope I’m being helpful.

    September 1, 2011
    • I’m glad you liked the post and that you created your own newspaper blackout poem!
      And sure — send me an invite for Google+ to onewildword@gmail.com
      Thanks Mark!

      September 2, 2011

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