Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Blackout Poetry – Poetry news roundup August 29th

Today’s news post brings you a round-up of the 70th Edinburgh Fringe Festival and looks at Blackout poetry.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

This year saw the celebration of the 70th year of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; the largest celebration of the arts in the world. With Monday 28th August marking the final day of the 2017 festival, organisers were proud to announce that this year the festival had attracted record audiences; it is estimated that a staggering 2.6 million tickets were issued for the wide variety of shows that were on offer, In fact It would appear that the figures are up 9% on last year’s attendance. And is it any wonder, with over one thousand authors, Illustrators, poets, performers and even politicians from around 50 countries performing at the event on Charlotte Square Gardens and the new expansion into George Street, offering such a diverse selection of entertainment.

Amongst the more unusual acts that the public could buy tickets for this year were performances in a swimming pool, a bathroom, a boat, a football ground and a tunnel. The topics covered were equally as diverse with Brexit, Trump, fake news and gender and activism just a few of the big subjects covered this year. This year’s Fringe put together a staggering 53,232 performance of 3,398 shows and used 300 venues in and around Edinburgh.

Anyone attending the festival, with an interest in poetry would not have been disappointed with acts such as the award winning “Loud Poets” one of the top spoken word shows of the festival in attendance. Others poetry performances included a collaboration between Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate and musician John Sampson, a tribute to Ireland’s late poet laureate; Seamus Heaney and a fringe debut from Neil Hilborn to name but a few of the acts.

Blackout Poetry

There is a good chance you will have seen something like this before; I am thinking the heavily censored letters in any of the movies where the soldier writes home only to have his missive almost entirely covered with black ink by the censors in an effort to remove any possibly sensitive information. Well this is exactly what blackout poetry is; a page of text that has been blacked out with only a smattering of the original words remaining visible. And it is becoming increasingly popular in a number of places; from Instagram and snapchat to more traditional published poetry collections and even on occasion as street art.

Sometimes referred to as found poetry or erasure poetry, although there are a few distinctions between the three, it is popping up with increasing frequency. In fact, so popular has this form of poetry become that the New York Times has even found themselves a little bit of the action by creating an entire section of their digital newspaper that their readers can use to create their very own blackout poetry simply by clicking to blackout their chosen words.

Whilst the poems themselves may not be very long they are certainly striking with huge blocks of black ink surrounding the few words that the poet want to highlight.

Have you ever tried blackout poetry?


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