I wrote a little piece this morning for the New York Times‘ “Room For Debate” section on how turning the constraints of fair use into artistic constraints actually leads me to make better blackout poems. Read it here, or below.
The folks at American Craft Magazine ran an excerpt of Steal Like An Artist in their June/July 2012 issue. It’s quite the remix — unbeknownst to me, they cobbled together the excerpt from several different chapters and even rewrote some transitions. (Which makes me wonder, “Is this still my writing?”) But, it sure does look nice…
Last week I had the new-to-me-and-slightly-surreal experience of being on three local TV shows — in Phoenix, they did something out of the ordinary: they asked me to draw! The producer found a room with a wall-sized chalkboard, and I talked about Steal Like An Artist while drawing some of the concepts in the book in chalk, and the team later edited the clip and sped up the tape to show me drawing. The effect is really cool:
His redacted masterpieces have won him both a book deal and a line of art prints sold through online gallery 20×200. The focus of his Tumblr, however, is his fans. Anyone with a marker, a newspaper and a little creativity can submit to the site. The result is a kind of free-form word search, with people providing one-liners that range from funny to enigmatic to genuinely thought-provoking. Whether or not you consider it actual poetry, it’s definitely not a bad way to recycle your morning paper.
Thanks very much to TIME readers who recommended the site and to all who’ve submitted poems in the last couple of years. Strangely enough, the site is almost exactly 2 years old! I knew there should be a site where people could submit their own poems, but I was waiting around for the right platform to come along. Luckily, a few months before the book came out, Tumblr started allowing users to submit posts. And that was that. Today the site has over 25,000 readers.
I’m still accepting poems, so feel free to send me yours: NewspaperBlackout.com→
That’s right: 5 hours! Mike told me you get about a minute of footage for every hour you shoot. Mike’s very good at pitching questions in the interview so that the subject ends up narrating the piece:
Here’s a bonus shot of Milo (who has a cameo in the piece) sniffing the camera equipment:
The folks from PBS Newshour were down last week to film me for their Poetry Series. It should air very soon — follow me on Twitter or Facebook and I’ll post there when I get the word that it’s about to run.
Here’s what I said to Drew Dernavich about the poem:
It’s funny you mention “Foreclosure,” because that’s my least favorite poem in the whole damned book. My wife liked that one and made me keep it in!
Moral: listen to your wife.
So here’s a funny story about how weird life is right now:
I get back from a long night out with pals at SXSW, and Meg is on the couch reading Texas Monthly. (We’re subscribers.)
I’m in the can, and all the sudden I hear this little squeal come from the living room.
“Your book’s in Texas Monthly!!”
And just like that, our first review. The magazine had been sitting on our coffee table for at least 3 days.
Thanks Mike Shea!
UPDATE: What’s even cooler about this is that Marc Burckhardt (fellow Austinite and very nice guy) did the awesome Selena cover.