Saturday, January 21, 2012

Blackout Poetry

If you have a newspaper and a black marker, you have some poems on your hands.   Just ask writer/artist Austin Kleon.   

Choose a spot in the newspaper, decide which words are getting in the way of your emerging poem and mark right through them with your black Sharpie.   Left behind are the lines of your new creation.   Magic!

In order to simplify this exercise for 8th graders, I added a couple of steps.   Students used pencils first to identify words to cover with their markers.   Also, I asked that they glue their chosen text into their journals before using the marker.   This was an effort to keep ink from bleeding onto the desktops.   Make sure they use gluesticks in their journals, not liquid, as the paper is delicate.

Some kids will also eliminate words until a news article is basically summarized.   The idea is for a transformation to take place.   You will want to show them samples to help writers' imaginations run free.   These creations could also make beautiful art for your classroom walls...

It looks like censorship, but it's a lot closer to upcycling. 


  1. If you want to use a marker that won't bleed (even through newspaper) then try out some India Ink Pens. My favorites are from