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The Art of Subtraction

March 11, 2013

Instead of staring at the blank page, why not start with a page full of words and eliminate the ones you don’t need?

This is the theory adopted by writer Austin Kleon in his book Newspaper Blackout – his weapons aren’t the pen and page, but Sharpie and New York Times.  And his advice to start your own blackout poetry is easy:

Grab a newspaper.
Grab a marker.
Find an article.
Cross out words, leaving behind the ones you like.
Pretty soon you’ll have a poem.

The hardest part of creating anything is often getting over that first initial hurdle of the blank slate: writing the first sentence, painting the first line, pulling the thread of the first stitch.  The stroke of genius in Kleon’s work goes against all that, and the results are kind of awesome.  His most recent stuff involves creating horoscopes out of single newsprint pages.

The possibilities are endless, and best of all, no writer’s block – not to mention a new, interesting use for your recycling bin.

Happy scribbling!

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