Finding Creativity in Unexpected Places: Blackout Poetry

Are you having trouble finding that creative spark? Are you cursed with writer’s block every time you sit in front of your open notebook or computer? Are you losing originality in your work and are desperately trying to get back to the basics? Well, Austin Kleon had these similar problems. By accident, in a case of intense writer’s block, Kleon invented the creative phenomenon known as blackout poetry.

Blackout poetry can be created using any form of printed word (books, newspapers, magazines, etc.), and forming poetic sentences or thoughts with random words throughout the text. Kleon started this form of poetry by playing with newspaper articles; he circled words he liked and scratchedout words he didn’t like. Afterwards, Kleon started to make coherent sentences from these words, and blacking out the rest of the page, hence the name.

Some examples of blackout poetry:

So, when writer’s block gets you down or you can’t seem to find the motivation to create, try this stimulating exercise. Pick out certain words in a body of text that really stick out to you and go from there. Here are links to a few excellent websites with more examples of blackout poetry and about the creator, Austin Kleon:

Happy creating!

Katie Montgomery


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