The staff at Las Vegas Weekly made blackout poems out of their own magazine and they’re encouraging readers to send in their own. Too cool. This one’s by staff writer Kristen Peterson.
Here’s a look at our interactive blackout poetry wall from last night’s opening reception at O Cinema
Wall o’ blackout!
PS: More blackout stories, here.
"Me getting my newspaper blackout on." - @dxstewart
"Dancing is Required," by Katie Tanaka, 16, California, USA
This isn’t actually a newspaper article, just an excerpt from the rules section of my high school’s homework planner. Close enough though?
Love it, Katie!
Best Saturday night in America.
|—||stellawasalwaysdown (I love love love hearing this. If you don’t have one already, you can get a copy for $10 on Amazon)|
"Food, Russian Food" by Denise, a student at Community Stepping Stones after-school program in Tampa, Florida
I had never had anything like it
I love this little poem.
I was very happy to get an e-mail yesterday from Melissa Jacobowitz at Community Stepping Stones, a non-profit that provides no-cost after-school arts education to youth in Tampa’s lowest income neighborhood. She said the blackout poems were a big hit with the students there when guest poet Samantha Samson led a workshop around them:
She brought in photocopied examples of blackout poetry from your work, as well as pages from Tom Phillips’ A Humument. After showing them examples, she asked them what the differences were between writing traditional poetry on a blank page and writing blackout poetry and lead a discussion about the unique aspects of blackout poetry (students answered that blackout poetry is useful because it can help spark creativity, it allows you to “scribble scrabble,” and you can use old materials to make new art). After this, the teacher handed out newspaper and magazine articles and allowed the students to pick which one they wanted to work on. Each student chose a clipping and then began to circle the words they wanted to keep. The teacher walked around and spoke with each student individually about their poems, and the students then continued to black out the words they didn’t want to keep in their poems. After finishing blacking out the articles, each student pasted their clipping onto construction paper and decorated the construction paper around the poem as they wished. Lastly, the students got into small groups and shared their poems with one another, providing constructive feedback.
I think the workshop was a great success. The kids came up with some fantastic poetry and I think it really opened them up to new ways of seeing poetry, printed materials, and art.
NPR did a piece about GodLovesPoetry, a project by two fellas inspired by Newspaper Blackout:
Cobb and Almeida, a couple from south Florida, recently launched a blog called GodLovesPoetry.com. In each blog post, they take a printout of a Westboro Baptist Church press release and begin redacting it with a black marker. They keep redacting and redacting until all that’s left are a few words that create a poem that turns the original rhetoric of the press release on its head. They then create an artistic representation of the poem and redacted text, which they upload to their blog.
"I work in the media so I’m familiar with the Westboro Baptist Church’s press releases, which are faxed to hundreds of media outlets daily," Cobb explained to me via email. "I’ve always wanted to do some sort of art project but I wasn’t sure where to start. Then I came across Newspaper Blackout, a blackout poetry project started by Austin Kleon. We ordered his book and as soon as we received it, Andres strongly encouraged me to pursue the idea of combining the press releases with the blackout technique.”