I can’t think of a nicer way to cap a release day than with a successful release party in your home town bookstore, so thanks a million to BookPeople, to my wife Meg for baking her delicious chocolate chip cookies, and to the 50+ folks who came out on Tuesday night! Y’all are the best.
I started things off with a short slideshow about how I started making the poems:
And then I went into a little demonstration of how they’re done. Here I am quoting Allen Ginsberg in “A Supermarket In California“:
And here I am explaining how I think of the poems as “Word Find” puzzles we used to do as kids in elementary school:
After that, Bookpeople hooked everybody up with a marker and a newspaper, and we all set about playing:
I was really stunned by how focused everybody was, and by how many people offered to stand up and read their blackout poems for the group. It was truly awesome. You can read some of the poems over on the Newspaper Blackout Tumblr.
After that, it was time to sign some books:
Again: thank you thank you thank you to everyone who came out! It was such a gas to see y’all with markers and newspapers in hand.
For those of you outside of Austin, we don’t have many national dates planned yet, but I’m hoping that will change, so stay tuned.
UPDATE: Thanks to Eric Gomez for this really nice writeup of the event:
What stayed with me most was the fun I had. He was right: it was less like work and more like play, a kind of word search for buried humor, hidden wisdom, or laconic lament. Finding that right note of self expression might take more than a little practice however. Kleon has blacked out hundreds and hundreds of these poems. His experience is telling. I struggled with my article and then he mentioned with the timeliness of an oracle that it’s tough to write one from a political column. He finds that the articles from the “Arts or Sports sections are best.”
Austin Kleon has gained a fan not merely because of his down-to-earth and quietly erudite personality, but because the poems he has “found” buried within newsprint are poetical gems in their own right.