Category Archives: Creative Writing

Poetry Rejuvination

Sorry for the period of leave, but I had a novel and the beginning of university classes to attend to.   On the up-side, I’ve been working on poetry again and have new experiments underway.

Poem - Fear Living


Concrete

Concrete poetry writers pay attention to the shape that words make on a page. Most commonly, writers modify and experiment with content and internal story structure.  Writers of shape poetry take a special pleasure in the arrangement of words for visual aesthetic. Many concrete poems have distinguishable shapes and very direct meaning, but the ideas behind the use of design elements and visual art are more substantial than writing a poem about your lost dog in the shape of a dog.

There is a light-hearted feel to shape poetry, as if the genre was created for those who wish to play around, rather than desire to build meaning though complex design elements. When concrete poetry was first created, artists wrote with the most abstract ideals. As the form became popular,  a feeling of fun was instilled in the idea of composing a poem in the shape of its theme. Check out the collection of visual poetry at UbuWeb.

Like a lot of other forms of experimental writing, it may be that the most important element of concrete poetry is its focus on form. Despite the inherent importance of the message therein contained within a poem, writers of concrete poetry want to remind the reader to enjoy the act of reading in different ways, other than just in a way which analyzes meaning, plot, or symbols. It’s like breathing without thinking that you’re breathing and missing the joy of your own breath.

For a quick mental image, here is a page from “House of Leaves”.

“House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski, is one of the novel-length concrete works which incorporates many different style elements and experiments with different types of non-traditional writing techniques.

Although it is a longer book and somewhat daunting in style, I recommend this work for anyone interested in deviating from the norms.


Blacking out

This is the first of a series of posts dedicated to alternative forms of creative writing. Because I’ve been working on a blackout project recently, the first form to be introduced is Blackout.

What is blackout poetry?

It’s a unique form of found poetry.  In order to write found poetry, you need one or more pre-existing sources, whether it’s graffiti, textbooks, horoscopes, or grocery lists. Poets.org explains in great detail that “Found poems take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poems. The literary equivalent of a collage, found poetry is often made from newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters, or even other poems.”

To write blackout poetry, select a piece of text and choose certain words. Take a marker and blackout the rest of the page.


This is a tutorial made by Austin Kleon, author of “Newspaper Blackout”.

Who writes blackout poetry?

The first writer to draw a lot of attention to his blackout poetry was Austin Kleon. Since his emergence, there are various bloggers including websites open to submissions, such as the forum run by Austin Kleon. Teachers also have begun advocating the use of blackout in the English classroom. Caroline Lennox wrote a very cool post about her experience teaching Blackout poetry.

Alterations and how to use it

When I was in high school, I used to write stories with my friends, line by line, passing a notebook back and forth. It dispelled boredom. Try making a blackout poem with a friend. Try creating one when you’re having terrible writer’s block.