In the month of November, we read Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief for book club. When we gathered for Writer’s Workshop, I gave each student a Percy Jackson word search puzzle. For about 2 to 3 minutes, they were allowed to find as many words as possible. This was a great segue to our lesson on Blackout Poetry.
Blackout poetry focuses on rearranging words to create a different meaning. Also known as newspaper blackout poetry, the author uses a permanent marker to cross out or eliminate whatever words or images she sees as unnecessary or irrelevant to the effect she’s seeking to create. The central idea is to devise a completely new text from previously published words and images, which the reader is free to interpret as desired.
Austin Kleon is the person who is credited with first creating this process. He has even published a best selling book with these types of poems, Newspaper Blackout.
When you are starting out with black out poetry do not read the article as you normally would. Look at the words as raw material. See the words as tools to be manipulated. You may toggle between two articles or remain within one. Your creation does not have to relate to the original article in anyway. You should take the authors words and twist them in to your very own creation. You are making fiction out of nonfiction.
Tip: Do not linger over one article for too long. If an article does not spark inspiration MOVE ON!
Have you explored this style of poetry yourself or with your children? Share your work in the comments!