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.
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
Time: About 10-15 minutes
Cost: Probably Free! (If you have to buy a newspaper, then maybe $2.)
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.
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.
After – nice clean edges.
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 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.
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!