Blackout Poetry

Posted in Poem, The Internet, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on October 2, 2016










There is a thing called blackout poetry☽ . The instructions are simple. “how to make a blackout poetry: 1- find an old book, magazine or newspaper and a black marker 2- let the words find you.” If you google blackout poetry you will be sent hither dither and yon.

“Over the last three years, Atlanta based artist, John Carroll, has been on a journey of sharing a piece of blackout poetry with his social media followers everyday.” This is news to PG, who doesn’t get out much. Mr. Carroll tweets at @makeblackouts, and has a book for sale, Hidden Messages of Hope. Making your own blackout poems is cheaper, and more fun.

Most instructions for BP use the printed page, edited with magic markers. If you like getting ink on your fingers, this is the way to go. PG prefers a digital approach. Computers are cleaner, the base text is not rendered useless, and you can make mistakes. Once something is blacked out with a magic marker, it is gone forever.

When PG began to make BP, he used a paint tool to cover up excess text. Later, he would highlight the unwanted words, and apply a 33 point gaussian blur. This gave way to highlighting the words that are going to be used in the poem, invert the selection (cntrl + i), and apply the gaussian blur. If color is involved, open hue-saturation and lower the saturation to zero, effectively changing the image to black and white. Sometimes, the blurred out sections are made lighter.

Many of the original texts were found on facebook. Rants about racism, sexism, and the nightmare election have been used. Often, the words remaining address the inner truth, previously encased in the mudslide of text. The BP are frequently posted as a comment to the original rant. It is usually, though not always, well recieved. On September 23, this comment was made:Stephanie Gomez Grow up. To which PG adds, bless her heart.

The process described above uses GIMP. Follow the link for download information. Here are some examples of blackout poetry.










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  1. […] Preview Of Democrats’ 2020 Fault Lines ~ roy cohn ~ The Right Way to Remove a Tick off a dog ~ blackout poetry ~ The Wolf at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner ~ judgemental maps ~ photo viewer ~ stay of […]

  2. Catalog Part Five | Chamblee54 said, on June 27, 2018 at 9:03 am

    […] and a black marker 2- let the phrases find you It was about this time that I made friends withblackout poetry. The idea is simple. Take a sheet of paper, and use magic markers to blot out all the words that […]

  3. Deconstruction Poems | Chamblee54 said, on June 12, 2021 at 10:24 am

    […] Deconstruction poems #8230;]

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