Newspaper Blackout
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Newspaper Blackout

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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  524 ratings  ·  93 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

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Paperback, 173 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by Harper Perennial (first published April 1st 2010)
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Unky Dave
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Beth
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
Lori
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...more
Kasandra
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...more
Cody
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...more
Joe Maggiore
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.
Becky
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...more
Luke Nelson
May 06, 2010 Luke Nelson rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Brandon
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
Paul
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.
Margaryta
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...more
Erica
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
Amazing writer and artist. Changed the way I think about most everything.
Dawn
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...more
Yasmine Alfouzan
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...more
Marie
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...more
Jessica
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...more
Aneesa
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
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.
Ryan Healy
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
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
Kate
Beautiful poetry, great idea. Beautifully executed. Mr Kleon added great details to several of his poems. I can't say enough great things. I have never read a book of poetry and enjoyed it this much. His poems are simple and beautiful. He highlights the simplicity of profound thoughts with few words.
Scott
To some extent I like the idea of these poems more than I like the poems. This is the kind of punk rock DIY stuff I am really into. Repurposing. Mash-Ups. Literary theft. This is a very slick idea and it just looks cool. This would also make a great teen writing activity.

However, most of the poems are just snarky oneliners. It's like what frat brothers would do while drunk or bored. Which is disappointing. Kleon only really offers a few really great and poignant poems. The contest winners in th...more
Beth
Oct 31, 2010 Beth rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Poetry lovers
Shelves: poetry
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...more
Nicola
Just made my own newspaper blackout!!! Inhaled quite a few sharpy fumes, but it was definitely worth it. I started with a page in my local paper with articles on a stolen cross in the Mojave Desert and an approaching Phish concert and ended up with a dark, absurd poem about "scalping." So much fun to let your mind go, fasten on "an anchor," and see what happens to the page from there. Phrases leap columns, words want to borrow a letter from other words, hilarities accrue. This exercise goes to s...more
Glenda
I have two blog posts about how this book has inspired lesson planning. Here's a link to the one I just posted yesterday. It includes comments on the book and a link to the earlier post: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jazb2...
Phredric
Lovely fun creative idea - and I'll probably give it a go myself. The charm is the process rather than the end product, as the poems themselves are hit and miss.

4* stars for the process and 2 * for the poems.
Michelle Lampinen
Love! Not only were the poems themselves beautiful, but their arrangement in the book was perfect. Love the flow between humor, sadness, insight, and poignancy.
Nick
"Live with me / in a house in Texas / it is just the right mix / of armed and happy."

It seems like everything Austin Kleon puts out into the world is worth a read - blog posts, poetry, books, thoughts, notes, reviews, even tweets (how rare). I am a big fan of his crusade for the creative and how it includes everyone. An incredibly varied and interesting person that I recommend keeping an eye on.

Like Kleon's other material, his newspaper blackout poems are a nice mix of thoughtful, poignant, fran...more
Jodi
This book is brilliant! Austin Kleon has discovered a new way to find poetry in everyday life, and readers will not be able to stop themselves from smiling at the results. Taking a bit of a newspaper column, Kleon uses a marker to selectively leave some words, and blackout the rest - building a poem from the words he finds in front of him. This collection is well selected, and will likely lead you to go find a marker and have a go at it yourself! (In fact, the author encourages you to do so.) Th...more
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2985039
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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