June 9, 2023

When thinking of poetry, the first thing that comes to mind might may be along the lines of “roses are red; violets are blue.”

Yet, a local library is using newspapers, old books, magazines and Sharpie as mediums to create poems. The SSgt Salvador J Lara Casa Blanca Library, located at 2985 Madison St., hosted a Black Out Poetry  April 19 that was free of charge for anyone who wanted to flex his or her creative poetry skills.

Blackout poetry emphasizes certain words of a book or newspaper by using a permanent marker to color or “black out” words the author finds unessential to what he or she is trying to portray.

This style of poetry was created by author, cartoonist and web designer Austin Kleon, who experimented with blackout poetry to get rid of his writer’s block.

Impressed with the outcome, he uploaded the poems to his blog, where he received a lot of positive feedback from the public. Shortly after, Kleon released his first book on blackout poetry called “Newspaper Blackout.”

Yesenia Littlefield, library assistant at SSgt Salvador J. Lara Casa Blanca Library and coordinator of the event, previously took a blackout poetry workshop taught by author Isabella Quintero and was inspired to make an event at the library that aims to introduce youth to poetry.

“I really liked her poem called, ‘Gabi, a Girl in Pieces.’ It was really good,” Littlefield said.

James Parvin, junior chemical engineering major, does not write his own poetry but said he can be considered a poetry enthusiast because of his love for what he calls “raw literature.”

“It’s a form of communication that allows a person to be eccentric and fully expressive outside what is considered to be acceptable in civil communication,” Parvin said.

Many associate this style as defiant and empowering, because it manipulates work someone has already done.

“(The event is) a sophisticated way of rebelling and expressing yourself using someone else’s work, while at the same time maintaining the journalistic integrity of their work,” Parvin said.

Alhough intimate, the event was bursting with creativity as participants ripped pages from books and colored them full of permanent ink to write their poems, each with his or her own unique style.

Some poems were solemn and endearing and others were just plain comedic. All participants were more than open to read their poems outloud, and just as eager to shower each other with praise.

Littlefield said she would like to have this event again in the near future.

Leave a Reply