The Headline Poetry project was developed by Olivia Gude, Jason Bozonelos, and Lacy Foy in the Express Yourself! group of the 2001 Spiral Workshop at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Headline Poetry

Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century, artists have eschewed traditional boundaries between media. They’ve invented a myriad of new, hybrid forms that combine word and image, sound and word, concept and performance—yet most contemporary visual arts classes in elementary and secondary schools are still planned according to traditional art academy subject matter—drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, crafts, and photography.

Unfortunately, when teachers encourage students to use words in their artmaking, the results are often uninteresting and predictable—a literal match between images and words. The Headline Poetry project introduces students to the use of words in their artmaking in a way that encourages spontaneity and exploration. Because students don’t actually type or write words—instead, they gather and select words from newspaper and magazine headlines—they compose effortlessly without complaints about having to write in art class.

Headline Poetry is a good way to get students thinking about using words in artistic and unexpected ways. An interesting aspect of this project is that it asks students to create a personal stream of consciousness poem out of randomly found words of everyday culture.

by Jessica Gonzales