Friday, May 2, 2008

Newspaper Blackout Poems: A great way to write poetry without actually writing poetry

Bored at work, I decided to take a page out of the book of Austin Kleon and attempt some newspaper blackout poems. Essentially all you have to do is cross out words and make phrases out of pieces of sentences in the article. It's really the Heidi Montag of poetry: easy, synthetic, and fast.

All joking aside, it does take a good eye to figure out what words you can pull from a drab article on business and string together to produce something profound.

Unfortunately, we didn't have any newspapers around the office, so for the first one I used the spring issue of the NYU alumni newsletter, and for the second, a piece of fiction on The New Yorker website. Below are the results:

In case they're too small to read, here's a translation:

2008 NYU Commencement in Yankee Stadium
Construction is underway
unable to hold traditional
New York City
and their families:
a historic occasion on many levels will hold
the last opportunity
before the new
Traditional day of
decision compromised, is
coustomary, awarding
The University
Washington Square,
the true meaning
one last time as
While we may not
be proper
meaningful, and wonderful
the morning
a full day.


He couldn't really remember life before something he'd once lived. It was buried, simple as the street-- he was always looking at a woman. There'd been four, more or less. They were still teen-agers, they weren't his. Except for the people coming toward them. Then he'd let go, he would stay empty, die on the ground. He felt after twenty years, himself-- he didn't want. You'll have your fuckin', the stress of it, red-eyed and vaguely aware I'm alive. Making none of them bleed or standing at the side, the pissing rain, watching one near him, the rhythm of every day, sleeping in an empty kitchen.


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