Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Make Blackout Poetry by John Carroll (review)

      I originally heard of blackout poetry a few years ago, back around 2015. I heard about it through the author Austin Kleon, in his book Steal Like an Artist. That book is not exclusively about blackout poetry, but Kleon mentions it a few times, as he himself has published a book, Newspaper Blackout, of his blackout poems. When I first heard of blackout poetry, my reaction was something like, "That's so cool! Why didn't I think of that?" 

     My first time actually making blackout poetry came in 2017. A local library, which hosted take-home art projects, gave patrons the supplies necessary to make a blackout poem. The kit even included a frame in which to put your final product. Sweet! I made the following poem,




     Shortly after making the above poem, I ordered the book Make Blackout Poetry by John Carroll from an online bookseller. I enjoyed the concept and process of blackout poetry so much that I could not resist buying the book. Make Blackout Poetry contains various texts, like fairy tale excerpts and dictionary entries, which you then use to make your poems. The paper the book is made of is thick enough to take the abuse of a black permanent marker without bleeding through to the next page. 

     Here is an example of a page I have turned into a blackout poem. The text is an excerpt from Victor Hugo's The Works of Victor Hugo.



     Although I also encourage you to buy used books or bundles of book pages from, say, Ebay or Etsy, I truly think that Make Blackout Poetry is a solid investment for folks looking to start a blackout poetry practice. Furthermore, the book would be fun to bring on a trip, and especially a creative writing retreat. Blackout poetry is a great "warm up" to get your creative juices flowing. If, however, you do not consider yourself a writer, I still think that you could benefit from trying out some blackout poetry. It is fun! Trust me!

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