Blackout Poems, anyone?

Anyone else doing Blackout Poems?
I do most of them in my own language, Dutch, but I made some in English too.

A Blackout Poem is made from an existing piece of text (I use pages from old damaged books), by picking words for the poem and blacking out all other words with a marker.
The poem has no relation with the original text.
The poet is limited by the words he/she happens to find in the text.


That’s a really cool concept and great for tattered books that you don’t want to get rid of



I have a hard time throwing away books, even damaged ones.
So I like to use them in different forms of art.

One downside: the type font is often too small. So sometimes I scan in a page and print it a little larger.


I love this! I often find such snippets when I read and just want to keep certain phrases and not the entire page! I am going to start doing this as I read…it looks like fun…and I do like the idea of copying the page in case you black out the wrong words!

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Super cool!

@jeanneleigh and @Ulairi we were just talking about black out poetry!


This is really beautiful and inspiring! Makes me want to finally jump in and do it.

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I find blackout poetry very challenging! I’ve only done it a few times… I do like to cut out interesting words/phrases and mix them up though :slight_smile:

I love the poems you created! The third and fifth one are my favorites, I love how you play with the words available :slightly_smiling_face:


Thanks, everyone!

Please, do join me! @Ulairi, give it a go!

@Reinikka, you’re basically doing the same, if you cut out words/phrases and mix them up. The only restriction with blackout poems is that they are in a fixed order.
Some poets though leave white snake-like lines from words to other words, leading the eye, so as not to be limited by the following order of the words on the page.

By the way, you don’t have to use book pages. You can also use newspaper or magazine articles. Then you could even play with different sizes of words.
Also, some people don’t black out entire pages (which will cost you quite a few black markers), but highlight the chosen words instead.
There are many possibilities!


I did a blackout poem once where I cut strategically placed holes in another piece of paper, and glued it atop the text, revealing my poem that way.

It wasn’t nearly as good as @madebyBeaG’s poetry, however. I really love the 3rd, 4th and 5th poems you posted!


This is really cool.

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Thank you!

Aw, @Bunny1kenobi, you brought back a lovely childhood memory for me!
I used to be into ‘secret languages’ and one year my then best friend and I made these kind of templates to give each other secret messages. We both had a copy of the same book. We would give each other a piece of paper with cutouts, like the one you made. At the top it would have two numbers, one for the page number and one for the line to start with on that page. Back home we would place it on the right page and read the message.
Nobody else understood our mysterious messages!

PS: love your new avatar, with your new hairdo!


I’ve never heard of this but it’s such a great idea. Now I have to find an old book and try it. You and your friend must have had so much fun.

@Bunny1kenobi … I’ll have to try yours too.

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If you Google ‘blackout poems’ you will find lots of wonderful examples!

Also, sometimes you’ve got to know when to stop.
Looking back I think the second one would be better with just the first seven words (‘She wore water droplets on her eyebrows.’)

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I also find it challenging to do the blackout version (esp since I chose a poetry book as my first one to do this with, LOL)
I may use your idea of cutting out words/phrases!

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oh, another good idea (using newspapers or magazines)
I have several old newspapers in my recycling bin that I could try this with!

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I find it easiest to cut them out and let them simmer long enough that I’ve forgotten where they came from :rofl: When I don’t have the original context in my mind it’s easier for me to create something new. :slight_smile:

@madebyBeaG I love your secret code!


What a cool idea, this would be fun to do in a classroom.


This is great!
I was introduced to ‘found poetry’ by @Reinikka in the ATC swap years ago. Love it! Especially fun with junk mail,


@Serenity I agree!

and @curiousfae , junk mail is in plentiful supply here at my house, so that is another good source!
Thanks for sharing!

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Thanks, everyone!

I like it when you use junk mail or newspapers, especially when the articles are about really negative events, and then turn the words into uplifting poetry!