Review: Newspaper Blackout by Austin Kleon

Newspaper Blackout: Poems
Austin Kleon
208 pages
Publication Date: April 13, 2010
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Source: Publisher

You wouldn’t think that poetry could be found within the pages of a newspaper but poet Austin Kleon has proved otherwise.When Kleon was twenty-two, he started using the newspaper and a black marker to find the words that writer’s block wouldn’t let him create on a blank page. The results are poems that are often funny or touching.

I’m really impressed with a lot of the poems I read in Newspaper Blackout. This volume of poetry isn’t like any other volume I’ve read before, not only because this is a collection of found poetry but also because this is a book you can read straight through and won’t get tired of. Often while reading poetry, it’s something you have to read a little at a time. Newspaper Blackout is a book you can easily read in one sitting.

According to found poetry is poems that “take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poetry.” It’s the “literary equivalent” of  a collage. In high school for a few of my English classes I had to make found poetry. It’s really fun to do. I love the fact that by sharing some of the poems in this book with my six year-old son inspired him to pick up a magazine and create his own found poem.

One of my favorite poems in the book:

rediscover the pleasure

of play


are all schoolboys and schoolgirls

staggering under the

weight of dream

stomping adults

You don’t have to be a lover or heavy reader of poetry to enjoy this collection. The author also includes a “how-to” on making your own found poetry. Highly recommended.

Have you heard of found poetry before this post? Have you ever made your own found poem?


14 thoughts on “Review: Newspaper Blackout by Austin Kleon

  1. I really love the poem you included. Found poetry is great- every year I work with kids at an elementary school for a creative writing program and we do newspaper black out with them. It’s always a favorite and it’s amazing what the kids come up with.

  2. I just read about this type if poetry when another blogger posted a review of this book. I am fascinated to try something like this myself.

  3. I saw mention of this book the other day and wondered about it. I am glad to come across your review, Vasilly. I am not an avid reader of poetry but I like it now and then. The concept of this book really fascinates me.

  4. I have been reading good things about this book, and think it sounds like a really fun read. I am going to have to look out for this one, and I am really glad to hear that you liked it!! I also love the new look of your site. It is very pretty!

  5. I think I’ve heard about that somewhere, because it’s such a striking idea for creating poetry.

  6. Ooh, this sounds like a wonderful book! So cool that some of the poems inspired your son to try his own. 🙂

  7. Nice review. I loved this book even though I’m not much of a poetry fan. I tried creating a Newpaper Blackout poem (I used the introduction page of a book I was modifying) and was mostly happy with it.

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