19 Sep What is Blackout Poetry?
What exactly is Blackout Poetry? Learn what it is, how to write blackout poems, and how to teach them to children. Use our ready-to-print resources!
We’ve all heard of haikus, sonnets, and ironic poetry, but have you heard of Blackout Poetry?
This art form, which is a subset of Erasure or Found Poetry, is a fantastic way to revitalize old literature or signs and transform them into something new!
But where did this poetry form come from? Let us find out together!
Meaning of Blackout Poetry
Blackout Poetry refers to any type of poem created by blacking out any unwanted words from a paragraph, book, sign, etc. with whatever inking or coloring tools you have available.
Basically, anything with words can be turned into a blackout poem as long as the artist has the ability to black out the words they want while leaving the others alone!
Blackout Poetry is based entirely on Found Poetry. Found Poetry is the art of selecting words that resonate with the artist’s vision.
Found Poetry can be created by cutting words from books or magazines and sticking them together in a collage-like fashion.
Blackout Poetry is extremely similar in style, but instead of cutting from various types of literature, blackout poetry focuses on what can be created from a single page of text (or, in extreme cases, from an entire book!)
With this in mind, blackout poetry may appear to be relatively simple to recreate. That is if you black out words without giving them any thought as to their meaning or purpose.
The Origins of Blackout Poetry
Although found poetry and erasure were the foundations of blackout poetry, it was fully realized and popularized by a creative young man!
Austin Kleon, a writer from Texas, discovered a different way of reading passages than others were used to. He began by selecting words from a daily newspaper and blacking out the ones he didn’t like with a marker.
He eventually published a book called Newspaper Blackout Poetry, which included his blackout poems.
However, he claims that the technique was invented and used by poets hundreds of years ago, around the 18th century. In the 1700s, Benjamin Franklin’s neighbor did similar work using newspaper columns.
He read across the narrow columns and came up with some hilarious puns, which he later published. Since then, other poets from all over the world have created blackout poetry.
Purpose of Blackout Poetry
The goal of Blackout Poetry is to create new meaning from something created by another mind.
Many blackout poets attempt to derive nearly the opposite meaning from their starting block of text, using words to weave a new story from the one given.
There are numerous approaches to determining which words are most useful in a blackout poem.
Concentrate on how they relate to the other words chosen ahead of time- and remember that the first-word choice is always the most important because it can set the tone for how the rest of the poem falls together!
How to Make Blackout Poetry
While reading blackout poetry is enjoyable, creating it is both fulfilling and engaging.
There are numerous techniques to study, but we’ll concentrate on the one that is the simplest to learn and apply! Making your own blackout poetry is a fun way to express yourself within the constraints of a single passage.
You’ll need a page of text, a pencil or a black marker, and a basic understanding of what you want to write to begin your first blackout poem! Then you can jump right in…
1. The first step is to select a text with which you want to work. Many modern blackout poets use online articles, but you can also use old books, other poems, newspapers, magazines, or anything else that contains words you can blackout!
2. This is the point at which your initial inspiration comes into play. Look through the text for words that relate to the poem you want to write! Depending on the text, this can be simple or difficult, so don’t be afraid to take your time!
3. BEFORE blacking out the rest of the passage, circle your chosen words. Use a pencil or the marker you’re using to black out the passages to do this. This keeps everything neat and tidy and allows you to go back and edit your poem before you reach the point of no return.
4. Create your poem! Before blacking out anything, do one final read-through. Read it out loud and backward until you feel you are pleased with the end result!
5. It’s finally time for the art! Begin by blacking out all of the words that are not your chosen words with your chosen blacking out marker or pen. You can blackout the words in any way you want; many blackout poets use ink to make artful squiggles or designs. This is an excellent time to let your imagination run wild.
When the ink dries, your poem is complete!
Examples of Blackout Poetry
There are numerous well-known examples of blackout poetry. Peter Knight’s project “Heart of Darkness” stands out among them all.
Blackout includes several beautiful poems created from book pages of “Heart of Darkness,” which details evil in man’s heart.