adventures, books & creative lifestyle.

How To Create Blackout Poetry

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Oh hai, fellow humans and other creatures that have a penchant for lifestyle blogs! I'm back with another creative post for you all. This time I've tried my hand at blackout poetry, albeit a little unsuccessfully! Blackout poetry first caught my eye when I read a piece on Austin Kleon and his 'newspaper blackout' work. I thought it looked interesting and like something I could at least give a good go. To create blackout poetry, you basically take a body of work, have a play around with the words, black some out and turn it into something poetic. I'm remarkably shit at explaining  things, aren't I?! Whilst it's a little difficult to grasp at first, it's a creative activity that you can do both in the comfort of your own home and out and about. You could do it just for fun or you could even turn it into an educational game to keep your brain ticking over! It's a creative all rounder. Let me know if you give it a go in the comments! Here are some of my top tips for creating your very own...

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1. gather a range of subjects and forms

If you're out and about, you might just want to pick up the nearest article to you and create from there. However, if you're at home, you may want to keep a handy little box full of creative snippets that you can turn to whenever creativity strikes. You could either keep a physical box of cuttings or you could utilize your pinterest / tumblr account and create an online board. You don't have to limit yourself to newspaper and magazine cuttings though: shopping lists, pages from old books, little notes, appointment slips, menus, blog posts and travel leaflets will do the job just as well! By using a varied range of forms, you're coming into contact with a variety of different tones, vocabularies and subject matters.

2. gravitate towards words and make them stand out 
Once you've chosen a piece to work on, start by carefully looking at the words. Find words that stand out to you and underline them. It's a lot easier to create blackout poetry if you underline words, I've found. Don't worry if nothing stands out for you though, just think about your first word and take it from there!

3. run with it

Unlike other forms of poetry, there are no real rules with blackout poetry. You can be as creative and as inventive as you like! You can stick with a good ol' fashioned biro or you could get artistic and use paint and glitter to brighten up your piece instead. Be as messy as you like! You don't need to worry about it too much. Just go crazy!

bEE'S first go...

I actually found it a lot harder than I first anticipated. I'm not happy with the result but it's only my first try and practice makes perfect. Why document it if I'm not happy with my attempt? Well, I get so many comments on my creative posts from people who say they would love to try things out but they can't do this and they can't do that. I feel it's important that I, as a creative writer, show you that these sorts of things are achievable to anyone but sometimes they take a bit of belief or a bit of perseverance. No one is going to try out a new skill and be crazily good at it. I fail at creative things all the time but I think that's all the more reason why I should try new things and work on them accordingly. You live and you learn!

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As you can see, I turned to the horoscope section of a trashy magazine for my first attempt. I started by underlining the words that I was drawn to before making them into something. I used a simple biro with this one but you can use different colours and textures to make it look more exciting. The more I read it back, the more I don't like it but I think it's important to embrace your failures as well as your successes. It'll do for a first go. Obviously, I've used a little artistic license with the whole 'breakthrough / break through' thing but I'm sure you can forgive me. I think I'm going to pop Kleon's book, Newspaper Blackout, on my wishlist in order to study it and improve my skills!

I feel rather proud of myself for trying something new.  Have you ever written any blackout poetry? If so, I'd love to see it! Drop me a link in the comments below or send me a picture on Twitter. I may do a follow up blackout poetry post in the future, maybe showcasing some more of my blackout attempts and I could feature some of yours too! What do you think? I'm off to do a bit of work ♥ 



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  1. I am obsessed with your blog. I love this idea!

  2. I tried this a while ago but haven't returned to it. This post has inspired me to definitely try it again though :) I completely agree with what you're saying about persevering - no one can create something amazing first time (although sometimes I forget this!) and we need to learn from mistakes and just continue creating! I thought your poem was great, by the way! Great post :)


  3. wow this is such a great idea!!

  4. i've been trying to get back into writing but find it difficult to just start from scratch. I think it would be really fun and interesting to try blackout poetry and start from there!! Thanks for such a great idea!! :D

    PS: Although you believe it to be a failure, i really liked your first attempt. :)

  5. We did this once at uni and I'm so sad I don't know where mine are anymore. You've definitely inspired me to try it again though!

  6. I love it. Great job!
    Sara //

  7. I adore this idea - so creative and you make it look so easy! I'll totally give this a go!

    Tamsin xx | A Certain Adventure

  8. I love this idea. I really need to try it myself.

    Beauty and Lifestyle Blog



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