Aneesa's Reviews > Newspaper Blackout

Newspaper Blackout by Austin Kleon
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's review
Dec 11, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: poetry
Read in December, 2011

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 made it clear to him that he had not invented the genre), and the preface is so positive. When he says: "This is not hard, anybody can do it, I didn't mean to do it, you should do it," I thought, "Well, you have to say that." But what he didn't have to go on to say is: "You should do it on the bus instead of Sodoku, this will cure your writer's block, you should use the creations to create something more" (he rightly doesn't suggest that anyone else will get a book of them published). I felt like his case was so strong it must have been truly felt.

What surprised me is how well the poems fit together as a book. They follow a narrative and return to themes which have more to do with the poet's vision and story than the medium (just like a "real" book): childhood, science fiction, horny teenagers, growing up and returning home at thirty, topics of the day (foreclosures--from articles on the subject or not?), even his move to the weird state of Texas in the middle of writing the manuscript, and his wife's name.

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