By Judith Fitzgerald
Despite the fact this contest applies only to those who purchased Feb. 22nd copies of The Oklahoman, the premise for this inspired competition might well work for any respectable daily attempting to increase its circulation in these less-than-auspicious times for same: To wit, if you had bought that hard-copy edition of the newspaper and followed its instructions, you would have been eligible to enter a unique poetry contest costing its publisher peanuts and raising the hopes of thousands wishing to see their names attached to their splendid compositions in the form of their choice:
"Newspaper Blackout Poetry is the creation of poet Austin Kleon and only requires three things: a newspaper, a black marker and your creativity. We know you've got it, Oklahoma, and we're willing to put our money where our mouth is.
"Grab a copy of this Sunday's The Oklahoman at CVS and other locations and pick any story from that paper. Take a marker and black out lines from the story, leaving only the words you want to remain visible. Those words become your poetry.
"Your poem can rhyme, or not. It can be a haiku. It could be a limerick (keep it clean), it could be free-form. Kleon will help us pick the winner. To keep it fair, we'll have two categories: adult and youth (younger than 21). The top adult winner will win the $100 gift certificate. The top youth winner will get an iPod Nano. We'll also have prizes for finalists. Enter as often as you like."
Write Royally Righteous! ( Sigh. Nothing this exciting ever happens in our lovely local, The North Bay Nugget , which could even up the ante and raise the stakes by calling its competition the Klondike-Kash Poetry Dash.)