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Blackout Poetry for NextLesson.org

Great freebie to use with middle or high school students

Laura Randazzo

on 4 March 2015

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Transcript of Blackout Poetry for NextLesson.org

Step 1:
Find a piece of text to use. Newspapers are nice because they're cheap and no one freaks out if you write on them.

Novels, though, can also be compelling subject matter. Photocopy a page, if you like, or use one of your own books from home.
Step 2:
Loosen up. Don't worry about making a mistake or messing up your poem.

That's the great thing about art – if you like it, then it's all good.

This is supposed to be fun, after all.

Step 3:
DON'T read the article or passage right away.
Instead, scan and look for an "anchor" word – a word that jumps out at you. That word will guide the direction of your poem.

After you've found your anchor

word, then read the full text, looking for connecting words.
Step 4:
Realize that some articles/pages just won't work. Don't fret. Just move on to another slice of text.

“I like to think of blackout poems like those old Word Search puzzles we used to do in elementary school — a field of letters with hidden messages to find.”
– Austin Kleon, word artist
Step 5:
Remember, your poem will be read from left to right and top to bottom.

Don't confuse your reader.

Step 6:
If you want to get a little fancy, turn your poem into an illustration.
(Doodles work great!)
Examples from Harry Potter:
Example from Paper Towns:
Example from The Great Gatsby:
Example from The Lovely Bones:
Now, it's your turn.
Grab a paper.
Grab a marker.
Get inspired.
Full transcript