Blackout Poetry: 3 Steps to Writing Stories from Others’ Words

blackout poetry

Imagine looking at a page full of words and seeing a story begin to appear. That’s what happens with blackout poetry. It’s the story you tell from the words already told… mostly.

Let me show you what I mean….

old book page with words blacked out and words emphasized
I had a little time to kill while my car was being serviced… 2018
(Tip: Always keep writing and “arting” supplies in your bag.)

Here’s how to create your own blackout poetry/story in 3 simple steps:

1. Gather your supplies:
  • a page from a book, newspaper, or magazine
  • a permanent marker – might be black, but doesn’t have to be
  • a pencil
  • maybe a pair of readers – some of us need them! 🙂
  • your imagination and curiosity
2. Next, scan the page for cool words.
3. Blackout (fancy word: redact) the words you won’t use.

But, wait! Before you commit to blacking out the unused words, be sure you’ve selected the words you want. To do this, you can draw a lightly penciled box around the words you want to use. Read your poem/story from left to right, top to bottom.

Once you’ve selected your words and you’re liking what you’ve ‘written,’ it’s time to black out all the rest.

Congratulations! You’ve created your blackout poetry/story. Well done!

Now what to do with your new poetry?

Want to learn how to play with words and colors?

April – June 2020, we’ll be playing with words and colors in virtual creative workshops. Our first event is tonight and our next event is Mixed-Media Friday, April 10th. We’ll be learning about bookmaking and making one of our own. Subscribe for details and an invite if you miss tonight’s event.