No Angel

Friday, August 29th, 2014

they said he was no angel / who is

Here you can see this poem being made:

Low overhead, revisited

Friday, July 4th, 2014


In today’s New York Times, a man said this about living in a 112-square-foot house: “It has maximized what I’m able to do with the young years of my life.” 

This is the big point I try to make when I speak to young people: “Keep your overhead low.”

The less you have to maintain, the more time you have to do what you want to do.

No words

Monday, June 30th, 2014


Sometimes the words don’t come. That’s when I make pictures. (And vice versa.)



Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

sentences will be the death of me

I hate writing. What I really love is reading. I tell people I became a professional writer so I could be a professional reader. (Adam Phillips: “I had never had any desire to be a writer. I wanted to be a reader.”)

Mission Statement

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

I write what I want to read

Always circling the same obsessions, I’ll often make a poem months (or years) after that would’ve fit perfectly into one of my books. This one would’ve gone into chapter three of Steal Like An Artist (“Write the book you want to read.”) Originally, it was going to go, “I read what I want to read,” as a screw you to people who try to make you feel guilty about what you read, but I decided I couldn’t pass this one up.

Newspaper Blackout finally available as an eBook

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Newspaper Blackout ebook

My first book, Newspaper Blackout, is now available as an eBook.

Word of caution: you need to have a reasonably large, preferably backlit screen to appreciate these things. If you just have an old Kindle or an eReader with a tiny screen, you’d be better off buying the paperback. (I haven’t tested every device, but I can say it looks really great in iBooks on an iPad. Maybe even better than on paper.)


The eBook also contains some “deleted scenes”—a dozen or so poems that got cut from the original manuscript—and a new afterword.

How to get a Newspaper Blackout print for cheap

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

The holidays are coming up, which means that I’m getting a lot of email from folks who want to buy prints of my work to give as gifts.

Unfortunately, we won’t be selling prints until next year. (My wife Meg is working hard on planning the logistics—we’ll be selling signed, limited-edition screenprints of new and old poems.) Prints available now!

In the meantime, here’s how to get a cheap print:

1. Buy a copy of Newspaper Blackout and a regular ol’ 8×10 frame.

2. Razor out a poem you like.

3. Frame and enjoy!

If you’re desperate for a gift, you can also get a signed copy of Steal Like An Artist from Bookpeople here in Austin, Texas. They ship everywhere. Order one here.

If you’d like to know when prints are available, sign up for my weekly newsletter.

Spectors Haunting May Embrace (A Halloween Blackout)

Thursday, October 31st, 2013


Earlier this month, I posted a blackout on Instagram and a follower commented, “Sounds like the beginning of a good tale.”

That got me wondering if could tell a ghost story in blackouts for the rest of October—one blackout a day, each made from the September 29th edition of the NYTimes. (Which, as you can see above, just happened to have a lot of ghost references…)

What I ended up with was a long poem about sexually-frustrated ghosts. Not fine literature, but it was fun to make. Read the whole thing below. Happy Halloween!



Headed Northwest

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

art is the ability to turn a trick while all watch

Headed to the Pacific Northwest next week. First stop is Seattle to film a 90-minute interview with Chase Jarvis. The interview will be broadcast live, Wednesday, September 18th, 11:00am Seattle time (1pm Central, 2pm Eastern). If you have something you’re dying to know, we’ll be taking questions from the audience. Should be fun. Details here.

After that, we’re taking the Coast Starlight down to Portland for XOXO Fest. I can’t remember the last time I went to a conference where I wasn’t a speaker, so I’m looking forward to it.

As always, follow me on Twitter for last-minute updates: @austinkleon

A poem a day

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

another day another dent in the heart

Since the #NewspaperBlackout show in April, I’ve been making a poem every day and posting it to Instagram. It looks something like this (or this):

It’s a good ritual before I do my “real” work for the day. I use this little librarian stamp on the poem when I’m finished—if I’ve kept up with my routine, I only have to move the day slider one little notch:


They don’t always turn out:


Sometimes the bleed from the poem makes for interesting art on the other side:


I wanted to share a few of my favorites below…


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