Photo: Courtesy of Austin Kleon

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Newspaper Poems
Does the poetry in your soul retreat at the sight of a blank piece of paper? Try starting with a page already crammed with words. When Austin Kleon was battling writer's block, he found an unexpected way to lower the stakes by picking up a newspaper and a marker. "I started deleting some words, and pretty soon I'd made the text into my own thing," he says. "I thought, 'I must be onto something.'"

He was right. While not the first person to create poetry from existing text—Thomas Jefferson took a razor to his Bible; William S. Burroughs scrambled printed phrases into kooky combinations—Kleon helped fuel a movement with 2010's best-selling Newspaper Blackout. (His follow-up, Steal Like an Artist, will be released in March.)

To get started on your own newspaper poem, just grab a section of any paper, identify an "anchor" (a word or phrase that conjures an image), and find words that connect, idea-wise, to the anchor. Black out everything else. You can post your work—and enjoy others'—at