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Project Pinterest: Black Out Poetry

I love finding inspiring art on Pinterest – sometimes I forget that it can be a visual springboard for much more than cleaning tips and DIY projects.  Lately I’ve been enamored with black out poetry – also known as the art of “found poetry.”

Below are a few of my favorite pins, showing black out poetry created from pages of old books.

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When I googled “black out poetry,” I found Austin Kleon’s website.  He’s a Southern writer who’s become famous for his blackout poetry using newspapers.  I like the idea of using newspapers, since they’re disposable and easy to find.  I can guarantee that no old books were harmed in the making of this poetry!

Black Out Poetry

The Amateur Librarian // Black Out Poetry

Time: About 10-15 minutes

Cost: Probably Free! (If you have to buy a newspaper, then maybe $2.)

Supplies:

  • newspaper
  • scissors
  • sharpie/marker

The Amateur Librarian // Black Out Poetry

Instructions:

1. Cut out a newspaper article (Austin Kleon suggests finding an article with two columns, so that’s what I did).  Locate a few “anchor words” that seem interesting, and circle or underline them with a light pen or pencil.

2. Start playing with the available words to see what kind of phrases you can string together.  When you’re happy with the poem, draw a box around each word with the sharpie.

The Amateur Librarian // Black Out Poetry

3. Black out every other line, leaving only the words of your poem.  Connect both columns into one block of space.  Optional – you can clean up the edges, since they can start to look raggedy.

Before – freshly blacked out.

The Amateur Librarian // Black Out Poetry

 

After – nice clean edges.

The Amateur Librarian // Black Out Poetry

 

This exercise was a lot harder than I thought it would be, but it’s fun!  It’s like a word puzzle with no right or wrong answer.  You could think of a sentence and try to force the words into order, but it’s more fun to see how the words play together.  And once I got started, it became kind of addicting!  I did a few more over breakfast this past weekend, and then hung them up on my clothesline photo gallery.

The Amateur Librarian // Black Out Poetry

The Amateur Librarian // Black Out Poetry

The Amateur Librarian // Black Out Poetry

The photos are hard to see, so  I wrote out the words – but I think reading them with the natural pauses created by the blacked out words feels more poetic.

The Amateur Librarian // Black Out Poetry

The Amateur Librarian // Black Out Poetry

The Amateur Librarian // Black Out Poetry

The Amateur Librarian // Black Out Poetry

The Amateur Librarian // Black Out Poetry

I stuck to newspaper and blacking out everything – but it could also be really cool to try illustrations or patterns over the unused words, like the inspiration pins.  Maybe next time…

Once again… hooray for Pinterest!

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6 thoughts on “Project Pinterest: Black Out Poetry

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