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#TBT Project Pinterest: Black Out Poetry

An oldie but a goody for today’s Throwback Thursday: Black Out Poetry!

A few years ago, I was a Pinterest fiend. These days I’m not quite as addicted but this one still sticks in my mind as one of my favorite Pinterest Projects. (And completely coincidentally, this post is from almost exactly 3 years ago in mid-June 2013!) Now if I could just get my hands on a newspaper… not as easy anymore!

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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3 thoughts on “#TBT Project Pinterest: Black Out Poetry

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