Musings

When Marker Meets Newspaper

Behold: blackout poetry!

I came across some pieces on Pinterest today and, after doing some research, fell in love with the idea. Artist and writer Austin Kleon created the process and calls it

"poetry made by redacting the words in a text with a
permanent marker, leaving behind only a few choice 
words to make a poem"

Box the words you want to keep – checking that their order makes sense – and blackout everything else. So creative, and still so simple. Naturally, I grabbed a few sheets of newspaper and a black marker and sat down to try my hand at blackout poetry:

Blackout poetry
I accidentally blotted out part of the “a”!

This is all that’s left of a recent article from The Straits Times: “The next yesterday will be a new museum”. And would you listen to that. It actually sounds poetic! (Not to mention slightly more profound than an article on new government funding for museums.)

It took me a couple of minutes, but it was lots of fun and certainly got those creative juices flowing (which, let’s admit, I needed badly).

Bitrebels
Taken from Bit Rebels
A Moonless Sky by Kevin Harrell
A Moonless Sky by Kevin Harrell

As much as I look forward to doing more, I don’t think I could ever make blackout poetry (or any other piece of creative destruction) with pages of books. Alas! I haven’t the heart to irrevocably stain those innocent leaves. I think I’ll stick with newspapers.

I also added Kleon’s book Newspaper Blackout, a collection of his blackout poetry, to my to-read shelf on Goodreads. He’s got more great work on his tumblr of the same name!

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