digging for words
I have been fascinated with blackout poems for some years now—a form that blends creativity with subtraction. I was inspired by Austin Kleon, who believes that this type of poetry is a powerful tool for expression. By taking an existing text, such as a newspaper article or a book, and covering words, I am able to create new meaning and context.
Language also plays a crucial role here—the process of making the poem gives emphasis to the words that remain, which can evoke emotions, paint vivid images, and tell captivating stories. By carefully choosing which words to keep and which to eliminate, one can stumble upon an idea completely separate from the source text—something that blooms from the debris.
Below is a continuing series of experiments using the book, Road to Ophir: The Autobiography of a Prospector by Rex Tremlett as a source text. It is an old, hardbound book I rescued many years ago in a secondhand books shop—published by The Adventurers Club in London in 1957. The words I chose and the lines that have emerged formed a narrative that was personal and meaningful. Perhaps I am, in my own way, a kindred of the archaeologist in the story, in search of legendary treasure. In my experience, what I found through blackout poetry is a liberating form of writing that allows me to express myself differently. It’s a form that continues to inspire me and challenges me to think creatively.