Deconstruction Poems

Posted in Poem, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on June 12, 2021

Deconstruction poems were originally known as blackout poems. Hard copy was used as a base, with words eliminated with magic markers. (“Let the phrases find you.”)

PG shifted to a digital format immediately. (one two three) People realized that “blackout” might not be appreciated by everyone. PG has heard the phrase deconstruction for a while, and does not know what it means. The phrases that find you are known as the Surviving Words. Sometimes these will known as selected words. Words that do not survive are known as Background Words.

The process described today uses GIMP. This is an open source image manipulation program. GIMP is available for free download, unlike better known programs. The process discussed here can probably be facilitated in other programs. PG works on a desktop PC. If you use a Mac, or a phone, you can figure this out as best you can.

This video shows how to make a deconstruction poem in seven steps.

Step One Chose the text that you will use
Open the Rectangle Select tool (R, Tools Menu)
Draw a rectangle around the text you want to use. Height should be five. or six, lines.
Width should be twice the Height.
Choose Crop to Selection (Image Menu)
Choose Scale Image… (Image Menu)
Enter 720 in the Width field. Click on the chain link, to the right of the Width field.
It should break open. Enter 380 in the Height field.

Step Two Choose the Surviving Words
Open the Rectangle Select tool (R, Tools Menu)
Draw a rectangle around one word on each line.
After the first word, hold down the Shift Key, while using Rectangle Select.
Using the Shift Key will add to the selection.
If you want to de-select a word, hold down the Control Key, while using Rectangle Select.
Select at least one word on the left edge of the image, and at least one on the right edge.

Step Three Make surviving words darker
Open Levels… (Colors Menu) Enter 128 in the Input Levels field.
This will make the Surviving Words darker.

Step Four Invert the selection
Choose Invert (Select Menu)

Step Five Blur the Background Words.
Select Blur → Gaussian Blur… (Filters Menu) Type 22 in the Size X field. Click OK.

Step Six Check poem for mistakes
When there is a mistake, hit Undo (Ctrl + Z)
Hit Undo until the Surviving Words are the original tone.
Open the Rectangle Select tool (R, Tools Menu)
To de-select a word, hold the Control Key, while using Rectangle Select.
To select a word, hold the Shift Key, while using Rectangle Select.
When you are through, repeat steps Three, Four, and Five.

Step Seven Export the image
When you are happy with the poem, export the image.
Choose Export As… (File Menu)
Give the poem a name, and click Export.

Q – Why are the poems scaled at 720×380 (pixels)?
A – These are the best dimensions for Twitter, on a PC. If the poem is taller than 380 pixels, Twitter will cut off part of the image. When posting for Instagram, the best dimensions are 720×720. Instagram is for squares.

Q – Are there any easier ways to access these tools?
A – GIMP allows the user to assign Keyboard Shortcuts (Edit Menu). If you look in the Menus, it will show keyboard shortcuts. You can also access Rectangle Select from the Toolbox (Ctrl+b).

Q – Are there any other ways to blur the Background Words?
A – Yes. Gaussian Blur was used today for simplicity. If you go in the Filters Menu, you will find thousands of ways to blur the Background Words. Artistic→GIMPressionist… is a popular option.

Q – Can I make the blurred Background Words lighter?
A – Yes. This is recommended for many blur options.
Open Levels… (Colors Menu)
Enter 128 in the Output Levels field.
This will make the Background Words lighter.
If 128 is not light enough, enter a higher number. The higher the number, the lighter the image.

Q – Where do you get the original source material?
A – Facebook and Twitter are options, as well as Screen Shots.
In Facebook/Twitter, click on the image. When the image appears by itself, right click on the image. Choose Save Image As…

That about does it. There are probably some details left out. Just make some Deconstruction Poems of your own. The beauty of DP is that you can usually knock one out in a few minutes. Sometimes, in a contentious/tedious facebook quarrel, you can drop a gnomic DP in the comments, and confuse everybody. Have fun, and don’t spill your beverage.

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