Trying out Austin Kleon’s Newspaper Blackout for myself

Tried out some Newspaper Blackout myself. It wasn’t pretty. Although there was an alarming amount of glee with crossing out entire articles, a part of me still reasoned, “I’d rather be writing, ya know.” But, yeah, it was fun while it lasted — won’t be doing more soon; the fumes give me headaches, for seriously. I liked about one, but being trained as a poetic fogey made me want to say, “This isn’t poetry!” All attempts have been buried underneath my mattress. I’m just not a Newspaper Blackout kind of girl, I guess.

Still. Austin Kleon‘s book’s verra verra interesting. Kleon takes an article, crosses about 95% of the text, and disparate little words appear to make a poem, or an aphorism, or a riddle, or a protracted knock-knock joke. It was okay. It was cool enough. It was exactly what it claims to be.

And yes, I know that I couldn’t fully enjoy it because I’ve had a stick up my, ah, I’ve been over-intellectualizing things lately. That is: What, poetics? What for? What do you mean to say? And not simply, Why not?



  1. Newspaper Blackout is neat, but not amazing. It’s really fun to do with kids though! This is an exercise I did quite frequently as a tutor with kids who didn’t want to write. It gets them working with words but in a less scary way.

    1. It’s a great way to pass the time–neat, like you said, but not amazing. That’s an amazing idea about letting kids do it, though. I imagine how fascinating it must’ve been for your, ah, charges. ;p

  2. […] Newspaper Blackout, by Austin Kleon. […]


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