Days 7 & 8 of National Poetry Month: My First Newspaper Blackout Poem


After building/the world's biggest entertainment computer/he lacks the desire/for people.

After building
the world’s largest entertainment computer
he lacks the desire
for people.

–Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz
.

I wrote my very first Newspaper Blackout Poem (above) at the BookPeople release party for Austin Kleon’s first poetry book, the aptly titled Newspaper Blackout.

I had been introduced to Mr. Kleon (a local artist) and his work at a Pecha Kucha event here in Austin, Texas, and loved this new form of poetry the moment I experienced it.

Mr. Kleon starts with a newsprint article from the New York Times, and then, like Michaelangelo chipping away the marble that wasn’t David, Mr. Kleon uses a marker to black out the words that aren’t his poem.

He describes the process on his website:

Grab a newspaper.
Grab a marker.
Find an article.
Cross out words, leaving behind the ones you like.
Pretty soon you’ll have a poem.

I loved creating my poem, and was amazed to find that being limited to using the words printed on the page was strangely liberating — as was the act of marking through words with a permanent marker.

No going back.

What’s done is done.

That’s all she wrote.

Hey, it’s National Poetry Month. Why not make your own blackout poem to celebrate?

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3 thoughts on “Days 7 & 8 of National Poetry Month: My First Newspaper Blackout Poem

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