Black Out Poetry

What is Black Out Poetry?

“Instead of starting with a blank page, poet Austin Kleon grabs the New York Times and a permanent marker and eliminates the words he doesn’t need.”

— NPR’s Morning Edition

Much like the photography we saw at the Barnes pairing text with image you will create a blackout poetry with the addition of design or image on the black(blackout) space. This should be able to exist as its own artwork but will later be the inspiration for a digital collage.

BLACK OUT Poetry Process:

This will be a digital piece. You may go into any of your iBooks and select a page of text. Save that as a photo or screen shot and bring it into a drawing app that has layers Sketchbook EX, Adobe Draw, Sketches ...

Step 1: Scan the page first before reading it completely. Keep an eye out for an anchor word as you scan. An anchor word is one word on the page that stands out to you because it is packed with meaning and/or significance. Starting with an anchor word is important because it helps you to imagine possible themes and topics for your poem.

Step 2: Read the page of text in its entirety. Lightly circle any words that connect to the anchor word and resonate with you. These could be expressive, humorous or ironic but are the words on the page that stick with you. Avoid circling more than three words in a row.

Step 3: Organize. The words need to appear from top to bottom, left to right. They must be in this order so it doesn’t confuse the reader. You can eliminate parts of words, especially any endings, if it helps to keep the meaning of the poem clear. Try different possibilities for your poem before selecting the lines for your final poem.

Step 4: Black out while adding an illustration or design to the page of text that connects to your poem. Be very careful not to draw over the circled words you selected for your final poem!

Eliminate text to create your own meaning

Add Design

Add color and texture

Have the image support the meaning.

Before beginning your own, look for examples, do an image search for Black Out Poems. Look at the range of possibilities. Start with the the following links.


Created with images by byzantiumbooks - "life on paper" • //sugar - "summer" • juliejordanscott - "black out poetry" • juliejordanscott - "black out poetry" • juliejordanscott - "black out poetry, January"

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