Black Out Poetry sharing for National Poetry Month

book pages photo

Poetry Sharing with HVL

April is National Poetry Month, and this year it feels like a time when we could all use a new creative outlet. Huntingdon Valley Library invites you to participate in a Blackout Poetry sharing throughout the month of April.

Austin Kleon

Austin Kleon

To participate create your own blackout poem. Use the tutorials and links below for instruction and to learn more about this form of poetry. Then share what you’ve created by emailing the image to Beth at Your work will be posted on our social media channels with #HVLBlackout and serve as inspiration for our patrons and fellow poets. If you’d like for your first name and age to be included with your piece please indicate it in your email, otherwise it will be shared anonymously.

What is Blackout Poetry?

Blackout Poetry is an art form that allows the poet to create new meaning from previously written works, such as old book pages, newspaper articles, and magazines. All one needs to give it a try is a text to be re-purposed and some markers, pens, sharpies or a dark pencil.

Begin by scanning your text to identify and isolate the words that jump out to you. Look for nouns and verbs that carry weight or significance for you. Then circle, underline, or box those words lightly in pencil. As these anchor words are identified, find others to connect them and circle those in pencil as well.

Some take this opportunity to write down the words they are considering on a blank page before continuing, as demonstrated here. Once you have the key and connecting words sorted, go back through and erase circles from any words that are superfluous and box/circle those you plan to use in pen or marker.

At this point you can begin removing everything that is not included in your poem by boldly striking through the text that is not circled. Take a look at a video of the creation of No Angel by Austin Kleon.

Stacey Antoville

Stacey Antoville

Visual Poetry

Many artists go beyond the removal of text to create visual poetry with color, shape, or even doodles. To add this visual element, sketch theme-related images on your page before you begin blacking out the unused text, leaving your added images in addition to the words of your poem untouched.

Remember, there is no “wrong way” when creating art!

If you don’t have a text to re-purpose like an old book or newspaper page, try printing a page from one of your favorite books to see how the works you love inspire you to create something new.

We’d love to see what you’ve written when you are finished!

Email your Blackout Poetry to:

Indicate if you’d like for your first name and age to be shared, or if you’d prefer an anonymous posting of your poem.

Then follow us on social media to see submissions from our patrons and staff.

HVL Facebook: hvlibrary

HVL Instagram: @hvlibrary

Teens @ HVL on Insta: @HVLTeen


Additional instruction on Blackout Poetry and sources:

5 Tips for Creating Blackout Poetry

Blackout Poetry by John DePasquale

The Easy Guide to Blackout Poetry