Blackout Poetry

By Mackenzie Vlazny

During this global pandemic, it can be easy to pay more attention to the negatives around us than the positives. This is an activity that focuses on finding the positives in a piece of writing. We will be using a writing technique called blackout poetry. Blackout poetry is a great activity for those of reading age. Some people find it hard to begin a poem, but blackout poetry changes that! You can create a poem of your very own using someone else’s writing. To ensure that the poem is uniquely yours, be sure that at least 50% of the text is blacked out when you are finished. This will help to avoid potential plagiarism.


The Basics:

You will need a piece of writing. This can be a page from an old book, a newspaper or magazine article, a social media post… anything you want! You can choose a piece of prose or a poem! I have listed my example of prose below. The Poetry Foundation is a great resource for printable poems for all ages. If you do not have access to a printer, you can grab a notebook or piece of scratch paper and copy the piece of writing down.


You will also need a writing utensil that you will use to black out the words that you do not wish to use. For my example, I used a digital black pen on my computer so that I could easily insert the image for you to see. If you wish to work digitally, I would recommend using an application like Microsoft Word. If working hands on is more your style, you can print or transcribe the piece of writing and use a pen or marker to black out the unnecessary words.



Excerpt from The Giver by Lois Lowry


As you can see, I have used the blackout technique to create a more positive spin on the piece of writing. You can try to create a new story like I have, or you can try blacking out any negative words to see what happens. It does not have to make sense to anyone but you, because it is YOUR writing. I hope you enjoy this activity!

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