What Is Blackout Poetry

What Is Blackout Poetry?

Blackout poetry is a creative writing style where the author takes an existing text and removes the words to create a poem – or a verse – from the existing text. It’s a form of writing that is done to create something out of an existing text, whether it’s a book, newspaper, or magazine article. The author creates a poem from chosen words by blacking them out/hiding them from the original text.

In most cases, the intention with blackout poetry is to use the existing text to bring out a new meaning. As a result, the poet is able to express a thought, idea, belief, or feeling more clearly. The text in which the poem is based often contains the same ideas and concepts the poet had in mind. All the poet has to do is to look for the right words and piece them together.

It’s believed that blackout poetry was first developed in the early 2000s. A writer named Austin Kleon claims to have started writing blackout poems in 2004, and other writers have followed his example and created their own versions of the style. Since then, the art has grown in popularity and has been used by many people.

Blackout poetry can be defined as the process of erasing, striking out, and blocking out words from an existing text in order to create something new. It’s an artistic way of taking a piece of information and giving it a new and creative form. The poem is created by selecting words that tell a story, creating an image, and expressing feelings.

Creators of blackout poetry prefer to use block-out tape, markers, or highlighters to cover up the words they don’t want to use. Some writers use a computer program to black out the words they want to remove. A lot of writers also use scissors to cut out words and phrases.

The blackout poetry technique can be used to make strong statements and to bring out hidden themes in existing text. Moreover, it allows the poet to convey a story in a limited space. This makes it a great tool for conveying ideas, thoughts, and emotions while being economical with words.

Making Blackout Poetry

Creating a blackout poem starts with selecting an existing text. A book, magazine, newspaper, article or even an old letter can be used as the existing text. From there, the poet is ready to start eliminating words that don’t serve the poem’s purpose. This can be done either by blocking out with markers or scissors and pasting the words in place, or even using digital tools like photo editing programs.

Once the other part of the poem is finished, the poet must determine whether the words hint at a message or idea. In addition to this, the poet should also consider the rhythm and form of the poem, as the beauty and power of the poem comes from the way it sounds. Finally, the writer can refine the poem and make sure the desired message is conveyed effectively.

Sharing a Blackout Poem

Blackout poems can be shared with the world either by posting it online or by sharing it in print form. Many writers find that sharing their poem online can be a great way to connect with other writers and show them a glimpse of their work. Twitter and Instagram are two popular platforms where writers can showcase their work. They can also set up a website or blog to promote their work and share it with a wider audience.

In addition to creating and sharing blackout poetry, poets can also use the style to inspire others. For example, they can use their poem to tell a story or to challenge prejudiced beliefs. They can also use the piece to open conversations about important topics or to call for change. This type of poem can also be adapted for many other purposes, from advertising and marketing to music and spoken word performances.

Benefits of Blackout Poetry

Blackout poetry encourages creativity, critical thinking, and self-expression. It also helps the writer to hone their language skills, develop an eye for detail, and focus on the deeper meaning within words. Moreover, it helps the writer to become more aware of the power of words and how they can be used to convey various messages. Blackout poetry is also a great way to practice writing, as it forces the writer to be concise and focused on their chosen topic or idea.

Finally, blackout poetry can be used as a form of therapy. Writing can be a way of dealing with trauma or difficult feelings, and the blackout technique can help the poet navigate through these emotions. In this way, the poet can create something that carries meaning and that can be shared with others.

Using Blackout Poetry in Visual Arts

Blackout poetry can also be used to create visual artwork. For example, artists can use the technique to create a unique painting or sculpture. Many writers have used the technique to create unique works of art that can be framed and hung on a wall.

In addition to creating artwork, the blackout poetry technique can also be applied to video and video art. By manipulating existing video footage, the artist can create a piece of work that expresses a thought or feeling without using words. The same can be done with music, where the artist takes an existing track and changes it to create a new piece of music.

Using Blackout Poetry as an Educational Tool

The blackout poetry technique can be used as an educational tool in both the classroom and at home. For example, students can use the technique to understand a text better or to bring out themes in the text. They can also use it to develop their own creative writing skills, as it encourages them to select words carefully and express their ideas more clearly.

In addition, blackout poetry can be used to encourage discussion in the classroom. By creating blackout poems and then discussing them, students can gain a deeper understanding of language and literature. Moreover, it can help them engage more deeply with the subject matter and support them to think more creatively.

Using Blackout Poetry to Relieve Stress and Anxiety

Blackout poetry can also be used to manage stress and anxiety. When someone writes a blackout poem, they are taking a moment to focus on their thoughts and feelings and to express them in a creative way. Writing can be cathartic, and this can help the writer to relieve their stress and anxiety that may have been caused by daily life.

It can also be used as a tool for self-exploration and insight. By examining the words that have been blocked out, the poet can uncover their subconscious thoughts and realise what is truly important to them. This can help them to gain insight into their feelings and behaviours and can support them in making positive changes.


Blackout poetry is an interesting and creative way to express thoughts and feelings. It encourages the poet to think critically and creatively when selecting words, and it can be used as both a writing and an artistic tool. It can be shared online as well as in print form, and it can be used as an educational tool in the classroom to promote discussion and critical thinking. Most importantly, it can be used to understand our inner thoughts, feelings, and emotions in a way that words alone cannot.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

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