Friday, May 21, 2010

Newspaper Blackout by Austin Kleon

Newspaper Blackout is a collection of poems by Austin Kleon. Instead of starting with a blank piece of paper, he uses the newspaper and eliminates the words he doesn't need. From the back of the book: "Newspaer article + permanent marker = Newspaper Blackout Poem".

I'm not much of a poetry fan, but I loved this book. I found Kleon's style intriguing and like nothing else I've seen before. The book is fun, unusual and totally approachable. At first, I found a few of the poems hard to follow. Once I got used to the author's style, though, I really got into it.

Poems range from laugh-out-loud funny to profound and serious. The arrangement was loosely based on subject matter and added to my enjoyment of the book. Because I haven't read that much poetry, I really can't say much about the quality of the poems. I enjoyed them, though, and I think others will, too.

My favourites include: "The Bully" (page 12), "Children Play" (page 30), "Martin Strapped in" (page 34), "Kept Secrets" (page 113) and "His Wife Appears" (page 137).

Kleon's introduction about the art of newspaper blackout and its history was interesting. I didn't realize that similar art forms existed. I also enjoyed the section on how to create a newspaper blackout poem, which is included at the back of the book. It's harder than it looks...I know, I tried. One day I hope to post at least one of my attempts.

I found some of the poems visually appealing. It's hard to explain without an example, but the structure and flow of the words made some of them look like pieces of art. Beautiful.

Because this book is unusual, it might not appeal to everyone. Those who like quirky out-of-the-ordinary books will probably enjoy it as will poetry lovers. Highly recommended.

For more information about this book or to Browse Inside, please visit the HarperCollins website.

For more information about the author and to see examples of his work, please visit Austin Kleon's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at Harper Perennial for this review copy.

Newspaper Blackout by Austin Kleon, Harper Perennial, ©2010. ISBN 9780061932973(Trade Paperback), 173p.


  1. daughter is upstairs right now with pages from the paper and a black marker.

  2. It was really neat to see what he came up with.

    LOL! I wish your daughter luck. I hope she has fun with it.


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