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Newspaper Blackout

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  948 Ratings  ·  135 Reviews

Poet and cartoonist Austin Kleon has discovered a new way to read between the lines. Armed with a daily newspaper and a permanent marker, he constructs through deconstruction--eliminating the words he doesn't need to create a new art form: Newspaper Blackout poetry.

Highly original, Kleon's verse ranges from provocative to lighthearted, and from moving to hysterically fu

Paperback, 173 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by Harper Perennial (first published April 1st 2010)
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Steal Like an Artist by Austin KleonShow Your Work! by Austin KleonNewspaper Blackout by Austin KleonRework by Jason FriedWe Learn Nothing by Tim Kreider
Show Your Work reading list!
3rd out of 26 books — 14 voters
Steal Like an Artist by Austin KleonNewspaper Blackout by Austin Kleon
Inspiratoin for creators
2nd out of 2 books — 1 voter

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Unky Dave
Apr 22, 2010 Unky Dave rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Jul 25, 2010 Beth rated it it was amazing
I am in love with this book and want to have it's babies. Newspaper Blackout is a collection of poems, loosely arranged by theme in a narrative thread that spans childhood through young adulthood, dealing with subjects such as the school locker room, first romance, and the dreariness of the office cubicle. What makes this book unique is the author crafted the poems essentially through editing another's words - newspaper articles, specifically. After establishing an anchor point, other words were ...more
May 03, 2010 Lori rated it it was amazing
Review copy from author/publisher

So. This was one of those books I knew I had to get my hands on the moment I heard about it. And a big thank you goes out to author Austin Kleon for so wonderfully helping a copy find it's way to my doorstep.

I'm ashamed to admit that I broke my review rule for this collection. I placed it right on the top of the pile. I know I shouldn't have, but I just couldn't help myself. I started reading it in the car on the way to the chinese buffet the other night, to cel
Oct 06, 2011 Kasandra rated it liked it
Newspaper Blackout by Austin Kleon

Kleon's debut is a collection of found poetry from the pages of The New York Times. It's gotten rave reviews and been featured on NPR and in The New Yorker, so clearly he's appealing to a wide audience with his work. He "blacks out" the words he doesn't want and keeps the rest, a technique used by many former writers, which he is kind enough to list in his forward.

This results in some pretty silly poems, and many truly funny ones. Unfortunately, when you use this technique, it's often hit-or-mi
Feb 10, 2015 Beth rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Poetry lovers
Armed with a newspaper and a magic marker, Austin Kleon makes the process of writing poetry more about chiseling away instead of starting from scratch. I am a huge fan of found poetry and have my students create found and headline poems every April during National Poetry Month. What I always find when students perform these exercises is that at first they think the assignment is just for fun, but then end up creating something really profound.

The idea is the same in Newspaper Blackout. An other
Apr 20, 2010 Cody rated it it was amazing
I am not much on poetry. Not that I don't like it. I just read very little of it except for an occasional visit with Rilke, Sexton or Neruda.

In the musical GYPSY, three strippers sing about the need for a gimmick to "get ahead" in their business. The gimmick here is "newspaper blackout" poetry. A technique where all you need is a copy of an old newspaper and a black magic marker(s) to create poetry.

Kleon's idea works so beautifully that you even forget the "gimmick" after about the third or four
Jan 24, 2016 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Now, I'm usually not really into poetry (maybe because I haven't found anything I found that great before) but this one was different.
Some of these poems were amazing and others I didn't really care for at all.
But the thing I really loved about this book was the idea behind it and how the poems were made. That is by taking a newspaper and blacking out lots of the words and the ones that are left are a poem. It inspired me to start my own ones soon and I'm really excited about that!
I also wanna
This idea is so simple, but I believe these are true poems (some stronger than others, but all interesting). I like the challenge of making them from words that are already there -- sometimes in the same order, other times using a white line so your eye knows which order to read the words (occasionally, it's not left-to-right, top-to-bottom).

A couple favorite quotes from the "how to" section at the end:

"The solution to any writer's block is to place some constraints on yourself."

"Wherever you d
arai rivers
Nov 29, 2015 arai rivers rated it liked it
This was pretty neat. There were some I really liked, and some I didn't like so much, but I believe this kind of poetry is a talent and I can't wait to see if I can do it myself.
Luke Nelson
May 06, 2010 Luke Nelson rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Practically everyone
Shelves: first-reads
I was excited when I heard that I had won this book from Goodreads First Reads, and it turned out better than expected. The concept behind the poems in this book is that they are created by selecting phrases and words from two columns of newspaper and blacking out the unwanted parts. It makes for both an interesting and entertaining read. After finishing the book I used the how-to section to create some of my own. I discovered that it is harder that it looks to get a great poem! I thoroughly rec ...more
Apr 29, 2010 Brandon rated it it was amazing
This was a fun read. Each poem stands on it's own, but when read in the narrative context of the book as a whole they together became more than the sum of their parts. The poems find a niche resting at the crossroads of the whimsical and the profound. The origin of the poems mitigates any platitudinal line to mere amusement that such could be found within the Times, and when a poem touches the heart, that amusement transfigures into awe that it was there, under our noses the entire time, needing ...more
Apr 24, 2015 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Although this style of poetry has been around since the 1760’s, Austin Kleon had the accidental fortune of bringing this to the mainstream market. To best describe what Newspaper Blackout is, NPR’s Morning Edition explains, “Instead of starting with a blank page, Poet Austin Kleon grabs The New York Times and a permanent marker and eliminated the words he doesn’t need.” (Eliminates the words he doesn’t need…I love the way that sounds.)

Here's the big question that I couldn't help but wonder while
Maddie A.
Jan 15, 2016 Maddie A. rated it really liked it
I have a whole bag full of Sharpies of every color, and I use them to doodle all over my notebooks, sketchbooks, my hands, and pretty much anything I can doodle on. But I have never used my Sharpies to blackout a poem before, and after reading this book, I know I’m going to try. Newspaper Blackout is really fun to read, and I think everyone should give it a try because you don’t have to love poetry to enjoy this book. The poems are short, witty and while I don’t love ALL of them, I find a lot of ...more
Ben Frick
May 16, 2015 Ben Frick rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Poets and lovers of poetry.
This is a really interesting way to write poetry: taking a newspaper article or page and just stringing together a few words together to make a poem by just blacking out the rest with a Sharpie. I tried this out myself a couple times; it's adds an interesting handicap, which forced me to get a little creative at times with what words I want.

A lot of the poems are short, some only about five words long. Some had a bit of a narrative to them, some expressed deep or random thoughts, some were pure
Joe Maggiore
Jul 13, 2015 Joe Maggiore rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the book overall. Each time I opened the book to read another poem, I found myself excited to see the next one. I also was constantly hoping to see the ones that had "white reading path lines". Not sure of that's clear to people who have read the book but oh well. It's such a unique and cool idea for a book and I'm interested in other books this author has written.
Apr 22, 2010 Paul rated it really liked it
Discovered this through a recent newspaper assignment. Just a mention of a "Dadaist bar game" to be played after a local poetry and fiction reading. Austin Kleon takes sharpy to newspaper and creates poems by blacking out the words he doesn't need. It's so perfectly simple and appealed to my love of both wordplay and puzzles. I'll definitely be trying my hand at this.
I didn't enjoy this one as much as I thought I would, but it was still a light, pleasant read. The idea of using newspapers and blacking out words was an idea that didn't occur to me at all, and I will most likely be trying it out during the summer with a couple friends of mine, maybe even make a personal collection of them.

My complaint comes to the actual poems themselves. They all 'made sense', however after a certain point they started to repeat themselves, and there were some images that we
Dec 23, 2009 Erica added it
austin kleon makes poems by taking a sharpie to newspaper articles. it's simple but powerful, good for people who love poetry and people who love it but never seem to get around to reading any (like me).
Mary Louise
Jul 09, 2010 Mary Louise rated it it was amazing
Amazing writer and artist. Changed the way I think about most everything.
Tatyana Tronilo
Nov 03, 2015 Tatyana Tronilo rated it it was amazing
Newspaper Blackout is a very interesting book that is different from other books that I have read in my life. The book is about a author named Austin Kleon who has his opinions about the tragic things that are going around in our worlds society. Austin Kleon knows how to use the words in the newspaper but in a way that it makes sense. This book teaches how stupid it is to make decisions that would hurt people just because you want other people to feel the same way as you. And this book teaches t ...more
Apr 27, 2010 Dawn rated it really liked it
I won a free copy of this book through the goodreads "First Reads" program and I was really excited. I had seen a writeup about the book and was intrigued. I have to say, I love it. I just pick the book up, open a page at random, and get sucked in.

The premise is deceptively simple: author, artist and poet Austin Kleon sits down with a page of newspaper and a black sharpie. By blacking out the words he doesn't need, he creates a visually interesting landscape dotted with words that, in their newf
Yasmine Alfouzan
Jun 29, 2011 Yasmine Alfouzan rated it liked it
Newspaper blackout is basically when a person takes a block of text (from a newspaper) and a black marker, and starts blacking out the words they don't need, only to end up with something completely different than what they started out with; instead of starting with a white blank page, you start with a page filled with words and you take your pick without having much flexibility… and ta-da! You have a poem.

I really like how the author went over the history of writing methods that are similar to
May 21, 2010 Marie rated it really liked it
Newspaper Blackout is a collection of poems by Austin Kleon. Instead of starting with a blank piece of paper, he uses the newspaper and eliminates the words he doesn't need. From the back of the book: "Newspaer article + permanent marker = Newspaper Blackout Poem".

I'm not much of a poetry fan, but I loved this book. I found Kleon's style intriguing and like nothing else I've seen before. The book is fun, unusual and totally approachable. At first, I found a few of the poems hard to follow. Once
Mar 27, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-copy
I received this book for free from the publisher. All content and opinions are my own.

I think this is the best idea! Here's how NPR summarizes the idea behind Newspaper Blackout: "Instead of starting with a blank page, Poet Austin Kleon grabs The New York Times and a permanent marker and eliminates the words he doesn't need."

Newspaper Blackout is a handy little book. It opens with brief history of altered works - the art of making art out of existing art. Google "altered books" and you'll get a
Dec 11, 2011 Aneesa rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
When Andrea found this book in a sidewalk free box and brought it home for me, I was already a fan of Kleon's blog and had read several of his newspaper blackout poems (mostly horoscopes), so I knew how entertaining and moving they could be. The technique is really not all that different from just writing a poem from scratch, if you ask me. But I like his attitude toward it: the book includes an introduction to the history of blackout poetry (not that he knew it when he started, but bloggers mad ...more
Linda Karlsen
Aug 26, 2014 Linda Karlsen rated it really liked it
Very interesting way of making poems out of newspaper articles and reusing the words of others, making them mean something quite different (usually). Some of the poems I really enjoyed what came out of just a few words that happened to be in the vicinity of each other in the same newspaper.

I particularly enjoyed the introduction of the book that told about preceding similar works created by blackening out words of another text and thereby making a completely new work.
Aug 24, 2015 Debbie rated it liked it
Blackout poems are such an amazing and creative way to take media and create it into something entirely different. It was to see what words stuck out to the author, and how he chose to connect them. However, this book does not read well as an ebook. It was sometimes challenging to discern what was going on. Because the poems are created from the words of other authors, they can feel a bit disjointed. They are an impression of a story, rather than an actual story themselves.
I would recommend read
Ryan Healy
Nov 12, 2011 Ryan Healy rated it liked it
This is one of the most unique and inspiring collections of poems I own and I will never regret buying it. The works in this collection are funny, heartwarming, intriguing, and sad which makes reading it enjoyable. Kleon’s poetry is the product of the New York Times and a black sharpie: each piece is a blacked out chunk of the paper, leaving only the words that form the poem. As an aspiring writer, this book serves as a lesson in word choice, in deciding what words best serve your poem and how i ...more
Feb 28, 2015 Mystery rated it it was amazing
After reading loads of nonfiction books that have a bigger purpose, for me, this book was quiet refreshing. There were a couple of poems I find it hard to put the words together, but either way it was fun. It was also neat to know how this technique has been used in the past as well and it continues to be used in our present. Quiet an amazing way to create poetry.
Oswego Public Library District
Poet Austin Kleon has created unique, re-purposed poems from newspaper articles. Starting with a black marker and a newspaper, Kleon chooses an article and creates poetry by blacking out some words and leaving others. This style creates short, easy to read poems that range from thought-provoking to lighthearted and humorous. Inspired to create your own? A guide on how to make blackout poetry and blackout poems submitted by Kleon’s readers are included in the back of the book. Newspaper Blackout ...more
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I make art with words and books with pictures. Author of Steal Like An Artist, Newspaper Blackout, and Show Your Work!
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