A month of newspaper blackout poetry

I challenged myself this past month to create a month’s worth of newspaper blackout poems, which are poems made by redacting newspapers with a permanent marker.

I’d never done a blackout poem before and as I noted in the first post, my creative muscles had atrophied a good deal over the past few years. It was hard.

One interesting thing I found was that Arts, Profiles and Obituaries are the best sections in the newspaper for blackout poetry. Politics is near impossible because of all the boring writing and big names.

It’s also very difficult not to bias the theme of the poems coming into the activity. I often found myself wanting to create a poem around a particular topic and then struggling to find a newspaper that would work for that topic, which is really not how blackout poetry is supposed to work.

My favorites of the month are To create first collect, Dominique, Art will shape you, Just exciting enough, and Intro to a graduation speech. To be sure, none of these are poetic masterpieces and I’m not even sure the last one qualifies as poetry at all, but I’m glad I did them. I have enough here for maybe 1/4 of a book of blackout poems! I even had a couple people ask for prints.

Here’s the complete list of poems:

I don’t want to put anything concrete in writing about my plans moving forward. I may or may not continue doing these, and at what frequency, I have no idea. It was a valuable, fun activity and it was a nice changeup to the kinds of things I’ve grown accustomed to writing and thinking about over the past few years.

Here’s a video covering how to do your own.