Festival of the Arts: Blackout Poetry

Britney Trachtenberg

Blackout Poetry- the act of taking a marker to already-published text and forming a poem- is a fun activity anyone can do and has few supplies needed. Supplies include a pencil, a marker (usually black), and a section of a published piece. The published piece can be from anywhere- a newspaper, an old book, part of a short story…the type of text that can be used is only as limited as the person’s imagination. 

Step One: Setting Up the Workplace

Find a place to sit and do the blackout poetry. It’s suggested to use a table but feel free to be unconventional- sit on a couch and lean on a notebook or placemat if desired. Take out the pencil, marker, the snippet of text, and get comfy. 

Step Two: Using the Pencil

Using a pencil provides the opportunity to revise the poem because it isn’t as final as the marker. In this step, the person would make a box around any words or phrases she would like to use in her poem. The eraser is her friend in this project- she is free to erase a line or box she decides not to use in her poem. That is essentially taking the word or phase out of her poem, but she can always put the words back into the poem. When she is ready and the poem is to her liking, she can move onto the next step. 

Step Three: Using the Marker

This is where the marker comes into play. She will now use the marker to go over her pencil lines and color the page in, except for the words in her poem. It’s suggested to place a piece of scrap paper under the snippet of text so the marker doesn’t stain anything else. 

Step Four: Enjoy!

This project is both a visual and a literary one- she is creating both a picture and a poem by doing this activity. She can hang this on her wall, give it to a friend, post it online, even maybe make another one.