The newspaper poetry blackout assignment is a project I’ve wanted to do for awhile. I’m a big fan of the fridge magnets that give you a limited set of words to work and create with and I see this kind of assignment along the same lines.
I grabbed my free copy of the Free Lance-Star Weekly and started looking through the articles. I found a couple of good candidates that contained words that caught my eye. I started on one and decided I didn’t like it as I moved along. I was mostly eyeballing my way down the columns and not really circling things so I easily got lost when I went back to find the poem again. Perhaps I should circle stuff in pencil first?
The article I chose was about a local former detective building a film career so there was an abundance of really good words to use in the poem. As I went down I spotted “pursuing”, “rumored”, “alive”, “challenge” but, I ended up not using them because I wanted to keep it simple. I decided to start at “life.” and treat it as the title of my poem and also a framework for what I wanted to talk about. I found that maintaining a good sounding poem and an aesthetically pleasing image is a double challenge that can be frustrating at times.
What I ended up with was this poem:
a little odd familiar space where bodies get to keep up this act.
I was quite pleased with the final poem (although a bit cynical) and the way the visual of the poem turned out.
I can see myself becoming addicted to this kind of art. I definitely see myself doing more of these in the future for fun.
7 thoughts on “life. a newspaper blackout poem”
Of course, as a lower-case-g geek, I immediately thought “Hmm, what if you had a list of ‘words that are significant to some large body of people’, then a program to scan any corpus and find those words, stringing them together…..” Which is actually just a text search with limits, but what if…..
I sound like I know about all this stuff [yawns, examines nails] but I really don’t. I like thinking about it anyway.
I have to wonder if there are already little programs people have written that do just that! Of course I know nothing about it either but, it is fun to imagine.
This is awesome! I think it’s probably the best poem I’ve seen come out of this assignment yet — you should put it in the sidebar of your blog! (I think I use exclamation points a little to vigorously!!!)
My inner poet blushes at your comment 🙂 It will definitely be up on my collage wall and perhaps the sidebar. Also, excessive exclamation points are always appropriate in a camp setting!!!
I’m agreeing with Martha- this is one of the assignments I have always said I should try but shied away from (I had a student last semester who’s courage to take on the harder ones inspired me to try).
This one truly works as a real poem!
Thanks Alan. Yes, this is one of those assignments where it is a combination of a good idea and sheer luck with the layout of an article. I keep scanning papers for good words. I want to try this exercise out in an old book.
I just stumbled onto this page from a Google alert’s notification on blackout poetry but I’m happy that I did. Your blackout poem is great 🙂 Hope you keep at it!