(Above) The poet Austin Kleon.

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FROM HIS PHOTOGRAPH AND ESPECIALLY HIS ART, AUSTIN KLEON LOOKS LIKE THE KIND OF GUY I’D LIKE TO KNOW. And why not? He is incredibly creative, has a sense of humor and is an American original.

What you are looking at here are examples of his “blackout poetry,” his way of creating prose by finding the words he wishes to keep within a story or article in the newspaper— and blacking out the rest with a permanent marker. Like a stone carver, Kleon “cuts away” the parts he doesn’t need and keeps the parts that are essential to his “found” poem. I think it is great. The final words Austin “keeps” have to fall within a readable order—giving us newly “discovered” poems that are poignant, funny, right-on and right for our times.

Austin lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Meg and his book: Newspaper Blackout Poems, was published by Harper Collins in February 2010. Learn more about Austin Kleon by visiting his Web site here.