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Erasure Poems Otherwise Known As Blackout Poetry

Hey fellow writers!

Welcome to another IABX Wednesday Writing Tip! Today, we delve into the intriguing world of blackout poetry. If you've ever struggled to find the right words, why not start with someone else's? That's the essence of blackout poetry, a modern literary and artistic phenomenon that has captured the imagination of many in recent years.

What is Blackout Poetry?

Chances are, you've already encountered blackout poetry in some form, whether on social media feeds or in literary journals. But what exactly is it? Simply put, blackout poetry involves taking an existing text and selectively blacking out words to create a new poem. It's a creative process that breathes new life into old words and invites readers to see familiar texts in a fresh light.

A Brief History of the Form

The roots of blackout poetry trace back through literary history, with early examples dating as far back as Benjamin Franklin's time. However, it wasn't until the Dada movement of the early 20th century that blackout poetry experienced a resurgence, alongside other experimental forms of art and literature. In recent years, the digital age has propelled blackout poetry into the spotlight, with platforms like social media providing a space for creators to share their work with the world.

Blackout Poetry Examples and Analysis

To truly understand blackout poetry, let's take a look at some examples:

1. Blackout Poetry by Tyler Knott Gregson: 

This poignant piece takes inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson's "Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes," weaving a narrative of solitude and romance amidst the backdrop of the night sky.

2. Misquoting Emily Dickinson: An anonymous poet offers a clever critique of the Great Depression by reimagining Dickinson's iconic line in the context of a newspaper headline.

3. Erasure Poetry by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib: Drawing from Virginia Woolf's poignant suicide letter, this erasure poem captures the essence of love and loss in beautifully crafted language.

How to Create Blackout Poetry

Feeling inspired? Here's a simple four-step approach to creating your own blackout poetry:

1. Identify a Source Text: Choose a text that resonates with you, whether it's a newspaper article, a novel, or even a grocery list.

2. Box Key Words and Phrases: Select the words you want to keep and box them off, leaving behind a canvas of possibilities.

3. Make Connections (Optional): Consider the flow and structure of your poem, arranging words to create meaning and impact.

4. Color It In: Embrace your inner artist and fill in the remaining space with bold strokes of color, bringing your poem to life.

Where to Share Your Work

Once you've created your masterpiece, why not share it with the world? Social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr are great places to connect with fellow poets and showcase your creativity. And who knows? Your blackout poetry might just spark a conversation or inspire someone else to pick up a marker and join in the fun.

In conclusion, blackout poetry offers a unique blend of creativity and expression, inviting writers and readers alike to engage with language in new and unexpected ways. So grab your marker, unleash your imagination, and let the words flow as you embark on your blackout poetry journey.

Happy Writing!



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