HOW TO: Blackout Poetry

I very recently (as in today) started doing blackout poetry.

Poetry is something that I have been increasingly enjoying to read and write for a little while. I would still call myself a big Amateur (with a capital A!), but I still find it really therapeutic and fun.

I came across blackout poetry a long time ago, but have only just started it for myself. And I am loving it, and already feel like I have gained something from doing it. So I thought I would share a little about it, what you need to do, and why I am loving it so much (from a very clearly experienced poet, obviously!!).




  • book that you don’t mind marking. I bought my favourite classic from a charity shop to use, but you can also use an old book/magazine/newspaper that you no longer want to read.
  • marker pen (or paint, felts, or anything else you want to use to fill the rest of your page with).
  • pad of paper (for making notes before you start cancelling those words out, and for using underneath the page you are using, to ensure the marker pen doesn’t bleed through multiple other pages!)



The method is as simple as you want it to be. Some people like to go straight in, cancelling and choosing their words as they go along. Some people (like me), like to plan a little first!

I pick a page, and choose the words and phrases that I like. I then try putting them together, and speaking them aloud, to see how they sound together. When I have a combination that I like, I will box those words with my marker, and scribble out the rest of the page.


I love the endless possibilities of things that you can do and try with this style of poetry. If you’re quite artistic, you can make it into a visual piece of art (I am not artistic, so black permanent marker pen it is!). I also love that you can simply write unconnected poems, or make a story out of the words that you use.

What I love most though, is that it forces you to use words and phrases that you may not normally think to use. Giving this example…


my mind 
to detect
that wild,
quivering on the horizon
infinite hope.

I would never have thought to describe hope, as something you can quiver on the horizon of.

I’m really excited to do more blackout poetry, and get more creative!


Do you enjoy this style of poetry? Have you tried it out yourself? 


37 thoughts on “HOW TO: Blackout Poetry

  1. I LOVE this! This is very clever and I’ve always wanted to try blackout poetry!
    I know these comments are super annoying but, I’m new to this blogging business and I was hoping you could just check out my blog and give me some feedback? Love your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love blackout poetry. I have also seem some really beautiful pieces where the words are cut out of the pages. I think it’s really lovely to think about all the different forms of beauty that exist within art, waiting to be uncovered and discovered.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I absolutely love this. I am a poet as well. An amateur also! I’ve never heard of blackout poetry. It seems like it takes more thought and time then regular poetry. I will have to invest some time into doing this and post it. Maybe when my desire is stronger. As for now, if you’d leave some feedback for me, because you seem more advanced than I am, I would love that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so happy to have discovered this post – and your blog. Thanks for this lesson. This is something I would never have thought of doing, but it seems like a fun exercise that can end in some surprisingly good poems. Is the the same poetry writing technique as what is called erasure poems?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve always liked this art form as well. David Bowie used to make up songs and poetry from random words cut from magazines and I’ve done that too. It’s all very therapeutic if nothing – a mindful exercise of sorts 🙂 Thank you for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t know that! That’s really interesting. Yes, it is very therapeutic, and I love making art out of existing art. I often use classics, because there’s something quite magical about taking a classic and making it your own piece of art.

      Liked by 1 person

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