Blackout Poems

Somewhere I got a whole month behind the curve…Austin Keon’s blackout poems have been in print from Harper for a month. [Hat tip to a blog critics review by Miss Bob Etier.]

Good on him on getting the way with word play out wider. He takes his content only from the New York Times.
Why the NYT?

AK: the Times has really nice typography. The layout is always pretty great. And most of all, there are a lot of words in it. Which sounds really simplistic, but it’s hard to find papers nowadays that have a lot of words in them that are good words.
AC: That is a sad statement on what’s going on.
AK: Yeah.

Is it paring down what the article writer said? He says he avoids reading for content, just skimming for anchor words and works at that level. Whether the plunder goes with the direction of the article, or changes topic or changes focus, it doesn’t matter. As he said in interview [from where he lives in Texas, but he has no Texan accent. huh.], “we could pass out the same article to hundeds of people and get hundreds of different poems.”
I mentioned his process and project in 2007 here. I’ve been reading his erasure poems for a few years at his Flickr and his blog. He has an errata to fix. So if you get the book, get involved with your black marker yourself. Get addicted? There’s a blackout pool to post your results at on Flickr. Or just buy the Creativity is Substraction T-shirt. 🙂

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1 Comment

  1. The source’s lexicon is very critical…yes.
    I want to document the “ouija/oracle”
    scheme some day. You can rant on like
    Churchill+Ashbery and each 10 seconds
    is sensible and commanding, but each
    minute is lost in space.
    But….the source actually has to be good.
    Overly articulate, and a little bit OCD,
    for that synchronicity.

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