22 May 2017

Blackout Poetry

I first learned about blackout poetry through Austin Kleon. It's taking a page with text (from a newspaper, magazine or an old book), finding words that stand out and blocking out all the remaining text with a black marker. The words that remain create a new story.

Here is my very first attempt:

"Rough Waters"
The blue waves of the ocean
A treacherous and unknown sea
I clung fast to this corner
I nearly drowned
All the water washing over me
The sun has helped to dry
And I feel better since

It's quite addicting, almost like those word hunt games. I'll share my process if you'd like to try your hand at it. 

Start with an old book. I found this at a thrift shop and I bought it for the purpose of crafting. 

The other supplies I use are binder clips to hold the book open, a pencil, an eraser, and a black marker.

I randomly choose a page and scan for words that, when linked together, make sense.

I underline these words with a pencil.

Then "blackout" all the other sentences with the marker.

Then I erase all the pencil marks.

You are as brave as you are pretty, my dear
Glowing brightly
Of silver and gold

I always add a title and sometimes accent with watercolor. 

There are other ways to do the "blackout" where the poet becomes an artist, too. Look here:

"Keeping up Appearances"
Pleasing, lovely, magnificent
Precious, rare, curious, costly
Everything seemed without a spark of life

Never fear

It will be a dangerous undertaking
We ought to do it
We shall do it
It requires a lot of courage for me
But I am going

That's turning an old book from blah to TADA!


  1. Very interesting! What some people think of doing is simply amazing sometimes. Thanks for the lesson.

  2. This is such a fabulous idea. I think the finished blackout pages could be incorporated into a clever greeting card.

  3. I love these! Great for any age and for inspiration.


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