Blackout Poems

How to create a blackout poem

Why do this:

It’s fun. This exercise is ideal if you think ‘I cannot write poetry’, but it is also fun if you can!
You can do it with any piece of text in your house. A takeaway menu, an old printed page, a page from a free newspaper or a page from an old – no longer wanted- book.

NOTE – if you do this with a page from a book make sure the book is not important to
someone else first.

Materials: Black felt tip, or black marker pen and other coloured pens. A piece of paper with
text on it.

Theme: We thought it would be interesting to invite you to make a piece about self-
isolation and what it means to be living at this specific moment in time. Maybe something
about hope for the future.

Step 1: Scan read the page of text.

Step 2: Look out for an anchor word. A word that draws your eye because it has meaning to
you in some way.

Step 3: Use a pencil to lightly circle any words that connect to the anchor word and
resonate with you. Resonant words might be expressive or evocative, but for whatever
reason, these are the words on the page that stick with you. Avoid circling more than
three words in a row.

Step 4: Link those words together into a poem. If useful add in linking words from the
text such as ‘and’ and ‘then’

Step 5: Blackout the rest of the text using the marker pen. If you like, create a piece of
artwork using patterns, shapes and other colours and that connects to the theme.

If you would like to share what you have created please post photos of your poem to

To download a PDF of the guidleines above please click here: Blackout Poems

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