Tuesday, March 30, 2010


How often are your writing students struck dumb by the blank page (or screen)—which just sits there—staring back at them? You have to admit that it’s fairly often.

Happily, poet and cartoonist Austin Kleon has a solution that will get students past that first hurdle by eliminating it: Give them a page from a newspaper, a permanent marker, and tell them to cross out the words they don't need. Or, put more simply:

Newspaper Article + Marker = Newspaper Blackout Poetry

Newspaper Blackout contains original poems by Austin Kleon, as well as submissions from readers of Kleon's popular blog, and he provides step-by-step instructions and encouragement that you’ll want to share with your students.

And, when their poems are finished, Austin gives your students the chance to share their own blackout poems with other writers.

In honor of National Poetry Month,
Book Club Girl wrote a Blackout Ode to Betsy-Tacy. Kayleigh George of Roaring 20s inked "an attempt at crossing e.e. cummings with New York's Metro."

If you've decided to assign Newspaper Blackout to your class, please request a desk copy.

Meanwhile, you can meet Austin Kleon in this video.

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