Celebrate National Poetry Month with Black Out Poetry!

Mystic Museum of Art

April is National Poetry Month. I love poetry but are you like me and love to read it but not sure how to write it? Sometimes it seems like writing poetry can be daunting. Where do you begin? What will be your focus? How do you choose the right words to make your poem sound good? Luckily, Blackout poetry takes away most of those problems. Blackout poetry is a type of “found” poetry which means you select words that catch your interest from another text and make them into a poem. After you’ve found your words, you usually color over the words you won’t be using. In order to make Blackout poetry, you will need a pinch of creativity, an old book or newspaper, and a sharpie or other art materials. Below are the steps to make your own Blackout poetry. And don’t forget to register for Take and Make Blackout Poetry here!

  1. First start by perusing the shelves of your local thrift store, Little Free Library out in Lindenhurst or even your bookshelves at home. You can also upcycle a newspaper. Grab a book or newspaper that looks interesting to you!
grey and white long coated cat in middle of book son shelf
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2. Once you have your books, feel free to start ripping out the pages that interest you. Or you can just keep your poetry on the pages inside the book like a journal. When you’ve decided on your pages, start reading through them.


3. Begin to look for keywords that inspire you. Maybe you see the word “night” and now you want to center your poem around nighttime. Circle all the keywords you like in pencil and write them out on a piece of paper creating your poem.

person holding orange pen
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4. When you’re sure you like the poem you’ve found, grab a sharpie and start circling the keywords. Next take your sharpie and begin by blacking out the rest of the page. Feel free to get creative here. And you don’t necessarily have to use just a sharpie. You can use paint, colored pencils, or markers and you can also draw a design on the page. Here are a few examples:

“Neighbors” by Austin Kleon
Lauren Zucker
SuZen Art

There are so many creative ways to make Blackout poetry. I love the idea of keeping an old book intact and filling each page with a poem. I’ve also seen people make collage art on their Blackout poems. I hope now that you’ve learned how to make Blackout poetry, you will like just it as much as I do!