I try my hand at black out poems

The “yes, we’re sinking” poem is called “Overheard on the Titanic,” and it’s by Austin Kleon. He’s very arguably the person who made blackout poems the thing they are today. A while back, I did a post of some awesome poems I found online (mainly by him), but today’s post is of some that I made myself.

It was very fun, and I completely lost track of time while doing it. It was also difficult, like figuring out a puzzle where you get to choose both the pieces and the finished image. I also messed up the blacking out part quite a few times and either colored out words I needed or made the white space too small. This was also the first time I’ve ever really flipped through a newspaper. Before now, I wouldn’t have been able to specifically explain a newspaper’s structure to you.

I got the newspaper from school. This week, I went to the library and asked the librarian if I could have a New York Times newspaper. She said yes and gave me a recent issue, and I made the following eight poems. Some of them I like, some of them less so.

miserably full stop
– simple economics


a nod to
big thoughts


I think

d e creases winning

his new
private jet
the emotional ties

to me
grwo up
thing that could

Which one do you like most? My favorite might be the one about friends. I’m not that into the private jet, the anxious bodies, or the love grabbing ones because I’m not exactly sure what I’m trying to say with them.
Have you read a newspaper before?
Have you heard of black out poems or ever made one?

17 thoughts on “I try my hand at black out poems”

  1. I love these! Blackout poems are so cool. We did them in my eighth grade ILA class with pages from old pages that had fallen apart, and even though made didn’t make much sense, I still remember loving it. It’s such an interesting concept- it’s so intriguing how the poem you make was hidden in the page all along- like a coded message? (That would be a great story idea. What if the answer to a crime or mystery was hidden in a book, just encrypted in a way you could only discover if you did a blackout poem?)
    My favorite one of your poems is the anxious bodies, followed by the friends one. The friends one kind of sounds like a synopsis for a YA contemporary. :))
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Ohhh cool. Haha, it’s hard to make something coherent out of the words! Oh the comparison to a coded message is interesting. I read on Austin Kleon’s blog today that he was inspired to make his blackout poems from censored police papers (it was because of the Mueller report papers that were released-which I only vaguely know about). That would be such a cool idea! I wish there was a website where people could enter book ideas and then writers could take them and if they ended up writing a book, respond to the idea.
      Ohhh okay, thank you for your input. My friend liked the anxious bodies one too. I’m curious-what drew you to that one? It does! And thank you :))

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s so cool! Okay, yes, that website needs to be in existence.
        I think what drew me to the anxious bodies one was 1) the use of “a nod to” because for some odd reason that I don’t know, that phrase appeals to me and 2) I love how it has an underlying message of that just because a person is anxious doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot to say, even if they don’t say at first.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I know right??
          Ohh, I do like the phrase “a nod to”. And I love that. Thank you so much for answering my question :)) Also, it was really hard, but I ended up choosing the “love grabbing men” one.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. These are really cool, and it’s a really neat concept! I actually had just heard about these (from my English major sister) right before I saw your post, so I was super excited when I saw you were doing it! I think I like the one about growing up the best, but I also like the one about the alternative route, and honestly I like the one about the “anxious bodies with big thoughts.” It makes sense to me.
    I really want to try one of these now. I think they are so cool.
    Great post, thanks for sharing these!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, and I agree! Whoaaa, I love when things like that happen. How is your sister like majoring in English? How has reading intensely for school impacted reading outside of school? Ohh, thank you for your opinion. I like the growing up one because I think I would title it “Thought by a School Shooting Survivor.” In my opinion, I’m on the fence about the anxious bodies one because it feels too much like one of those really popular poems right now that just say generic things.
      You should!!! If you do, please share :))
      And thank you again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. She loves writing and she is learning a lot of really useful things, but it can be really stressful too. It is nerve-wracking to be forced to pour out your soul on paper on command and then have professors analyze it. But she has grown so much and it’s super awesome to watch! Also I get to read her stuff, so that’s great. 😉
        Reading for school means less reading outside of school, which for me is a sad thing indeed. Some of the school stuff is interesting, but a lot of the times I would much rather be reading something else.
        Yeah, I often struggle with that balance between generic and relatable. Some things are used a lot because they mean a lot but then they can be used too much and start to not mean anything.
        Okay, here is one that I got out of a hiking brochure (just the words I picked, not the whole picture because this is easier for the moment):
        Before you is a
        Compressed under
        tremendous pressure
        Tiny grains of sand.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s nerve-wracking to have people analyze your writing no matter what it is, so I can imagine how much crazier it would be if it’s writing so deep from inside of you. And that sounds so good :))
          I know, I agree. I like that we read stuff for school because I read things that I wouldn’t read by myself but then I dislike it too sometimes for the same reason. But this year I read Tale of Two Cities, Frankenstein, and Night, all of which I am glad to have read.
          Yes, exactly!
          Oh my goodness, that’s really really really good, I’m serious. It gives you a striking image.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. There have been some really good books that I never would have read if it wasn’t for school, so I am very grateful for that. Mostly that happens with fiction though, and this semester we’ve mostly been reading stuff that is not very exciting or fictional. Ah, A Tale of Two Cities and Frankenstein! I haven’t read Night, but I have heard of it. I want to read it at some point.
            Thank you! I am glad you like it, and I really appreciate your feedback.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Ah darn, I hope that even if it hasn’t been exciting or fictional that it hasn’t been boring. Yes, please read Night at some point. You’re welcome!! Thank you for sharing it with me! Also, there’s this program called SYNC that gives you two available audiobook to download for free each week from now until about the end of summer-this week’s was Othello, and I just finished reading it today! I think a huge reason I gave it a chance was one time in a comment thread you mentioned how Shakespeare is meant to be seen performed and not read-the one I listened to was definitely a performance.

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Zoe, I looooove these! The last one is my favorite, but I also liked the private jet one and the “grabbing men like pieces of possibility”. Ugh, so smart!
    I’m currently reading Vicious, by V.E. Schwab, and the main character Victor is also into black out poems. I think these are really inspiring me to try some myself. I don’t know if I could find any newspapers in English to try out, though! I’ll probably have to black out some old English textbooks I have laying around, but I think I’d only be able to create pretty basic poems, since the vocabulary is pretty limited. I’ll try to find something out, though! This post was super inspiring!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!!!
      I haven’t read Vicious by V. E. Schwab, but I have read A Darker Shade of Magic. Did you also know she goes by the name Victoria Schwab? From what I read, she goes by Victoria for her younger books. I’ve read This Savage Song by her name Victoria Schwab. Oh, cool! Do you like Vicious so far? You should try it! I think it would be cool to see how textbooks and the words impact the poems. Thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. *lowkey so embarrassed BECAUSE I KNOW YOURE ANNIE BUT I CALLED YOU ZOE BC I LOOKED AT THE URL AND I FORGOT FOR A SECOND????? ughhh i apologize for being a mess*
        But, yeah, V.E. Schwab & Victoria Schwab! I think it’s quite interesting that she goes for V.E. Schwab only for her adult books. It probably sounds more appealing to an older audience? I heard that J.K Rowling did that because she found maybe more people would pick the book up if they thought it was written by a man. I think there may be a similar reason for V.E. Schwab too, which is a shame and reflects sexism in our society pretty well.
        I am loving Vicious! I only have 50 pages left, but I’m scared to finish it and find out that it won’t be a 5 star read as I predict, hahah.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Haha NO IT’S OKAY!!!!! I completely understand that the blog name is misleading and that it would make a lot of sense for my name to be Zoe!
          I know, I think so too! I was surprised when I found out about it. Ohh hm, that’s interesting. I wonder why she does it. I feel like if it was me, it would be so I could categorize my books in my own head. Yes, I’ve heard that too about J. K. Rowling! I know she uses another pen name for this series of mystery books she wrote. Oh yea, that would make sense for V. E. Schwab too. And you’re right, I agree.
          Ahhh, I hope it’s still a 5 star!

          Liked by 1 person

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