Blackout Poetry

Report by Mrs Morris

The chances are that you have seen it before: a full page of text that looks like the world’s most hard-to-please editor went after it with a thick, black permanent marker, leaving only a smattering of visible words scattered across the page.

Does it sound familiar? It is called blackout poetry and it has been popping up with ever-increasing frequency on Instagram and Snapchat, in traditionally-published poetry collections, and even as street art.

This is exactly what year 7 tried today in their English lesson with Mrs Meachin.

The young poets were offered random pages from Gardener’s World magazine and they crossed out a majority of the existing text, leaving visible only the words that comprise his or her poem; thereby revealing an entirely new work of literature birthed from an existing one. The striking imagery of the edited text and the remaining readable text work together to form a new piece of visual poetry, the examples of which are below:

‘Instantly recognised for its beauty is the human touch.’

‘Believe in every day until one day you burst into life and become brighter.’

‘Call her a flower, the flower of spring, a wild spirit where gentle perfume pulls her sunny presence.’

‘Love is showering petals of ardour.’

‘One greatest joy to us in early spring is new spring grass, then dandelions in summer.’

‘Emotions: sadness, delight and despair, children bouncing up and down, sneaky, gigantic ton of bricks…Ugly.’

Would you like to try some at home? Please hand in your one-line poems to your English teacher in exchange for carrots!