What is Blackout Poetry?

Blackout poetry, also known as erasure or redacted poetry, are all types of found poetry. Specifically, found poetry has a goal of using pre-existing or "found" text to create something new. Portions of the original text are kept, while other parts are drawn over or crossed out. Well-crafted blackout poetry can give new meanings to old texts. In addition to the words themselves, often times the artwork created by blacking out words can also contribute to the poem's meaning.

Some examples of found sources include: newspapers, magazines, books, and journals. Poems in this style can be short or long, abstract or concrete, carefree or tragic. All you need to do is: 

  1. Identify the text you want to use.
  2. Make note of meaningful words, phrases, or ideas.
  3. Mark out the text you wish to exclude from your poem. You can blackout text with lines or even drawings. 

See these poems for some striking examples: