Experiments in blackout poetry

Here’s a new, nerdy hobby my fellow word lovers may enjoy. It’s called blackout poetry, and you basically use a newspaper (after reading it of course) and black out all but a few words that make a poem of sorts. It sounds simpler than it is. The poems aren’t always masterpieces, but it’s fun and I like the idea of writing poetry in AP Style.

I got the idea from writer Austin Kleon, who actually did a whole book of them.

Here are a few of the ones I’ve done so far:

notworried

 

I’m not worried; I think we’re OK.

 

 

new1

New scenes, different creation. We have sought unusual, surprising pieces.

 

bizarresmall

He is bizarre, but the world thinks kindly of it.

 

pantsuitsmall

I want a maroon pantsuit. That would be amazing.

 

way

There’s a way, maybe. All sound good but none pan out.

 

haveto

 

You have to get up, but it’s tough.

 

I’m doing more of these plus haikus and pictures and stuff on tumblr at lorithebraveone.tumblr.com. And you should check out Kleon’s at newspaperblackout.com.

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In the struggle (on writing)

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been a writer. Not a fantastic one, but a writer still. 

Under my bed there’s a lock box filled with old diaries from my childhood and teenage years. I’ve long since stopped caring about the secrets there but part of me still wants to protect the heart of the little girl who wrote them, so I keep them under lock and key.

My first works were made-up stories about the squirrels in the trees by my house and biographies of my late hamsters. I’d staple together their pages and call them books.

As a news reporter for the past six years I’ve had an outlet, even if it was just writing about the days’ happenings. I lost that when I became an editor a few months ago. But it seems like lately I’ve lost more than an outlet, I’ve lost the ability to write altogether.

I go to all my usual writing spots and try to string words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, to no avail. It’s not even that I don’t have stories to tell; I do. They say ‘write what you know,’ but sometimes what you know is too heavy to lift off your shoulders and put on a page.

So I struggle. I sit at the keys and type a little before letting my mind wander, back to the days when what I knew were squirrels and late, beloved hamsters. When the news was what I wrote about and it was enough.

I think maybe that’s what writing is about, the struggle. The discipline of getting into the trenches with your thoughts and these building blocks we call words and trying to make something reflective of your subject matter.

So I’ll stay a little longer, keep my fingers hovering over the keeps, or pushing a pencil across the page.

And wait for the words to come.

Bad Poetry Thursday

Note: In an effort to get over what seems to me to be a bit of writer’s block, I’ve been posting short posts that I’ve tweaked from old Facebook posts, writings, etc. Here’s a poem I found from a creative writing class in college. I hereby declare today Bad Poetry Thursday.

Star gazing

Above me, the stars shine
They sing and dance for me
from the midnight sky.
I lie on the ground and feel
Its green fingers tickling my bare arms
The spring air is chilly now
And I wish I’d brought a sweater
For a minute here, I forget that there is more than stars and grass and sweaters
Life is easy
Staring into midnight