Blackout Poetry attempt

After seeing examples of Austin Kleon’s work, I decided to make an attempt at blackout poetry.  It looks pretty simple, you start with a newspaper article and then cross out words until you get a poem.  Right.  Just like when you write a regular poem, you just have to write words down.

Regular newspaper seemed too small to work with, so I grabbed our local weekly paper.  There’s too many pictures.  Ok, I’ll use this piece on the evaluation of the state of the state address.  Here’s a collection of words.  Oh dear.  Not exactly a masterpiece.P1110607

IN CASE YOU FORGOT
WHILE IT WAS
released
with
improved on
reputation
the new
consolidation
shared
across
more
women’s
plans for
the creation of
excellence
ranged
from cautious to concerned
“we have some concerns
with understaffing
services
Yet,
believe
that the way is one for all, all for one”
members believe
the
value of the work
plan to expand
access and more
structured
manner that allows
more
to produce
need to get
our priorities straight and
Furthermore,
properly
protect our generation
responsibility to
every child
parents know
the consequences of
their actions.

What I learned about creating blackout poetry:

  • experiment by using a pencil to mark off different words before jumping in with a sharpie
  • what article you choose effects what you can say
  • don’t sniff the sharpie while working
  • use a clipboard to hold your work in progress
  • poetry isn’t my thing

If you are going to do this as a project with students, start ahead of time gathering articles with potential, ones that have lots of expressive language.  Make copies of them, so that mistakes are not project-enders.  It would also be interesting to compare how different students create widely different poems from the same piece.  Practice making a bunch so you realize that the finished pieces will be a bit abstract.

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