In the past month, I’ve been messing around with a strange form of ‘writing’ called blackout poems. I was inspired by Austin Kleon, who helped popularise the form. Since then, hundreds of people have ran with it, creating new and different poetry using existing texts.

It’s a really interesting format that has a lot of potential. You take a newspaper article, pick some words and scribble out the rest. Weird phrases and snippets of almost poetry emerge. It reminds me of William Burrough’s cut up technique, where he would re-arrange his sentences at random. The resulting poems are reliant on the underlying article but there are infinite combinations. It’s more visual than a poem but not quite an image either.

Creating something new from other’s words was enough to get me hooked. Initially, I did it to keep myself creative whilst I was editing and formatting my book. Soon, I became quite addicted to it, ruining any newspaper and magazine that happened to cross my path.

It’s still a fun experiment, so I’m going to keep posting new poems over on my Tumblr and sometimes on Instagram.

If you’re interested in this strange art form, check out the people below who are much more skillful than I am:

Austin Kleon

Newspaper Blackout

Holly M. Wells


Make Blackout Poetry