Newspapers are art, too

When I was little, my mother subscribed to the Wall Street Journal. My earliest newspaper memories are sitting at the kitchen table or in church with a newspaper and pen, circling words in the paper. It was a smart trick by my mother: I learned letters and words, and I was preoccupied enough to keep quiet. I remember sitting in church hunting for the word “the” — and asking if it counted if it was part of another word.

Austin Kleon does something similar, but much more sophisticated — he hunts through newspaper pages for the perfect words to create poems, and blacks out the rest of the page. The result is striking.

Kleon is sponsoring a contest to create newspaper blackout poems. Download the Aug. 1, 1908, page from his site and create your own poem. The winner and three runners-up will get a copy of his new book. (Kleon also offers tips on how to create newspaper poems.)