I’m going to do a small series on the varieties of found poetry, which Wiki defines as:
“a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry by making changes in spacing and/or lines (and consequently meaning), or by altering the text by additions and/or deletions. The resulting poem can be defined as either treated: changed in a profound and systematic manner; or untreated: virtually unchanged from the order, syntax and meaning of the original.”
The first one I’d like us to examine is the blackout poem. It gets its name from unwanted words being blacked out using a black marker, paint, or some other method to cover the text.
I wrote a blackout poem from a newspaper article about the 2008 elections in the United States. A broad-tip black marker -unfortunately running dry- let me carve out the words that spoke to me from the page. The final text was pretty much unchanged from the natural order of the words. Here’s a picture of my first blackout poem.
The final text of the poem is:
A Painful Wait
Middle Class losing its grip
Imperil the American Dream.
It’s likely to get worse,
Falling between the cracks,
Bled to the brink of homelessness.
It’s no holiday.
Will you vote?
©2008 Lin Neiswender
Everyone has a newspaper or two around. Why not take a page with a long story, pick up your marker or black crayon or paintbrush, and try your hand at this? I promise that you will be impressed with what you come up with.